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J&J: $2.5B Settlement for Hip Implant Lawsuits


WebMD News from HealthDay

Nov. 20, 2013 -- Johnson & Johnson says it will pay $2.5 billion to settle lawsuits over faulty hip replacements, making it one of the largest settlements paid out in the medical device industry.

The agreement presented in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio, resolves about 8,000 cases involving patients who had to have the metal ball-and-socket hip implant -- called the ASR Hip System -- removed or replaced, the Associated Press reported.

The metal implant was pulled from the market in 2010 after data showed that it failed sooner than older types of plastic or ceramic hip implants.

The settlement announced late Tuesday provides about $250,000 per patient and covers those whose implants were removed or replaced before Aug. 31, 2013. Most of the patients are expected to receive their payments in 2014, the AP reported.

J&J's lawyers have denied that the company acted improperly.

The deal does not cover all lawsuits related to the hip implant, J&J's DePuy unit said in a statement. "DePuy will continue to defend against remaining claims and believes its actions related to the ASR Hip System have been appropriate and responsible," the company said.

The ASR Hip System was sold for eight years and used in about 35,000 patients in the United States and more than 90,000 worldwide. Production of the hip implant was halted in 2009 and it was recalled in 2010, the AP reported.

Internal J&J documents suggest that company officials knew about problems with the device at last as far back as 2008. And a 2011 company review of a patient registry said that more than one-third of the hip implants were expected to fail within five years of implantation, the AP reported.

Replacement hips are generally supposed to last at least 10 to 20 years, according to the news service.

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