New Delhi: US pharma major Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Pvt Ltd on Thursday has agreed at Delhi High Court to pay 25 lakhs to 67 patients affected by its faulty acetabular surface replacement (ASR) hip implants.
Johnson & Johnson’s counsel Amit Sibal also said that if the Central government provides it with a list of more patients who had received a revision surgery after the hip implant, it would pay ₹25 lakh to them too after verifying the claims.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru remarked: “The payment will be made through bank transfer. If claimants succeed in their claim at any other forum for higher sum due set off be given. If petitioner succeeds, this amount would be non-refundable. Court has not examined the merits of controversy. Payments should be directly into the bank accounts. Out of 289 patients, 93 were verified. Sibal states that the petitioner has got the cheques in the court. Said they are drawn in the name of 67 people."
The next date of hearing is on 8 August.
The Delhi High Court on 2 May had directed US pharma major Johnson and Johnson Pvt Ltd to pay ₹25 lakh each to four patients affected by its faulty Acetabular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants.
India’s drug regulatory authority had ordered the company to pay compensation to these patients, following the recommendation of the central expert committee. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had asked Johnson & Johnson to pay ₹65 lakh and ₹74 lakh as compensation to two unidentified patients of Maharashtra in March and on 30 April. It once again ordered the company to pay over ₹1 crore and ₹90 lakh respectively to two more patients from Uttar Pradesh. However, the pharma major had moved the Delhi High Court against government orders to compensate patients. J&J challenged the order in the court, saying it is willing to pay only ₹25 lakh each.
Justice Bakhru had directed the company to submit the list of verified patients and their claims to the court while the CDSCO has been asked to provide details of other trouble-stricken patients who have approached them for the compensation.
Sandeep Sethi, another counsel for J&J, told the court: “Someone who hasn’t gone through a revision surgery, he or she is not entitled. Facts are only that approximately 250 people are registered. We are willing to pay for them. Whose papers are verified will be compensated."
J&J had said that it was committed to providing assistance, including appropriate compensation within an “established framework", to ASR patients in India who have undergone revision surgery.
Earlier, it had also offered the government to do a fast track process by paying ₹25 lakh to patients of revision surgeries as they did in Australia.
On 29 November, the government had approved a formula devised by R K Arya committee, which determined the quantum of compensation for the patients. The formula is based on the percentage of disability, age factor and risk factor. The compensation was in the range of ₹30 lakh-1.2 crore.
The implant, DePuy ASR, was sold in India by DePuy International, a J&J unit.
In 2017, the government had formed a panel headed by Dr Arun Agarwal, former dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, which suggested compensation for each patient.