Johnson & Johnson has tentatively agreed to pay four billion dollars to settle thousands of lawsuits involving the recalled DePuy ASR metal on metal hip implant, according to reports by Bloomberg News and The New York Times. According to the reports, Johnson & Johnson would pay an average of $300,000 to $350,000 for each removal of the metal on metal hip implant, which has caused severe pain among patients due to high wear, producing metal debris that is released into patients’ blood streams causing metallosis, death of soft tissue and pseudotumors.
Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit recalled 93,000 hip implants in 2010, including 37,000 in the U.S., after reports of high failure rates within five years. This past March, a Los Angeles jury awarded a patient implanted with a recalled metal on metal hip replacement $8.3 million for injuries he sustained as a result of the failure of the implant, which necessitated a surgery to remove and replace the hip device. Johnson & Johnson won a second case that was tried in Chicago earlier this year. Johnson & Johnson recently settled claims before trial in New Jersey and California, suggesting settlement of other claims is under discussion.
According to the news sources, the DePuy ASR hip settlement would not bar claims made in the future by individuals who have been implanted with DePuy ASR who later suffer the effects of the defective DePuy metal on metal hip implant. In other words, this is expected to be an uncapped settlement.
Thousands of defective metal on metal hip replacement lawsuits are still pending against manufacturers such as DePuy Orthopaedics for its Pinnacle hip implant, Biomet Orthopedics for its M2a-Magnum hip implant system and Zimmer, Inc. for its Durom Cup, along with non metal on metal products like Stryker Orthopaedics’ Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant systems.