Report: Johnson & Johnson to Settle Metal Hip Implant Suits for $4 Billion

Unnamed sources say that Johnson & Johnson has negotiated a more than $4 billion settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits filed by patients who say they were seriously injured after being implanted with the company’s allegedly faulty metal-on-metal hip replacements. The sources, who spoke to Bloomberg under condition of anonymity, said an official announcement of the reportedly record-breaking settlement is expected to take place in federal court next week in Toledo, Ohio.

Three anonymous sources close to the negotiations told Bloomberg that the company will pay an average of $300,000 to each patient who underwent corrective surgery to remove an ASR metal-on-metal hip implant. Furthermore, the sources say, patients who have not had the allegedly defective device surgically removed would still be able to seek compensation from Johnson & Johnson in the future should their implant fail prematurely.

The sources said these reports, and the fact that many expect the number of ASR metal hip lawsuits to continue to increase, indicate the potential settlement amount is essentially “uncapped” in its total value. If reports are accurate, the more than $4 billion payout will be the largest settlement ever in the United States over an allegedly faulty medical device. The forthcoming settlement would be Johnson & Johnson’s second multibillion-dollar payout in a month following the $2.2 billion it spent in early November to resolve criminal and civil liability stemming from allegations that it improperly marketed Risperdal and other drugs.

In 2010, the division of Johnson & Johnson responsible for manufacturing the ASR metal-on-metal hip device, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., recalled 93,000 implants worldwide as news quickly spread of high failure rates and serious patient injuries. Of the 93,000 recalled implants, more than 37,000 were reported to be within the U.S. market. As of late summer, Johnson & Johnson has said it’s already spent roughly $993 million to handle patient medical costs and other expenses related to the 2010 recall.

The company has said publicly that it will leave the metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-metal hip implant business by the end of next year due in part to “declining physician use” and far stricter FDA regulations.

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