JOHNSON & JOHNSON SAID TO AGREE TO $4 BILLION SETTLEMENT OVER HIP IMPLANTS

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Johnson & Johnson has tentatively agreed to pay an estimated $4 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits filed by patients who were injured by a flawed all-metal replacement hip the company made, according to two lawyers with knowledge of the plan.

The tentative settlement, which is subject to court approval, represents one of the largest payouts in history for product liability claims involving a medical device.

A spokeswoman for the company’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit declined to comment on the possibility of a settlement.

The agreement will cover those patients who have already been forced to have the device, known as the Articular Surface Replacement, or ASR, removed and replaced with another artificial hip, said the lawyers who spoke about the agreement on the condition of anonymity.

Under the deal, patients would receive about $350,000 on average in compensation, though that will figure will vary depending on factors like a patient’s age and medical condition.

The precise value of the settlement is not yet clear because lawyers for patients are still trying to estimate how many of the 12,000 ASR-related lawsuits were filed by patients who underwent a replacement. Lawyers say that number is believed to be from 7,000 to 8,000 cases.

The eventual cost of the deal to Johnson & Johnson will rise as more patients who received the device undergo future operations to have it replaced.