News Feature | November 2, 2014

J&J Could Pay $250M To Settle More ASR Hip Implant Suits

By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


In addition to the $2.5 billion settlement Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay claimants last year, the company is reportedly nearing an agreement to pay more than $250 million to settle more suits over its recalled ASR hip implants.

J&J is said to be considering the settlement of more than 1,000 lawsuits filed by patients who had the ASR hip implants removed after August 2013, two anonymous sources familiar with the company’s plans told Bloomberg. The company is reportedly ready to offer the same terms under the earlier settlement deal, which allotted an average of $250,000 per revision surgery for about 8,000 cases. If J&J resolves the additional 1,000 cases, then the company will have settled about 75 percent of suits in the United States over its hip implants.

“This is a sign that J&J is trying to get a solid handle on its whole ASR problem,” Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia, told Bloomberg. “They are not done paying yet, but they are moving in the right direction.”

Under the terms of a possible settlement deal, Bloomberg’s sources said that J&J is also “offering to ease procedural deadlines for ASR hip patients who haven’t yet had removal surgery,” thereby extending the time patients can file any suit if their implants fail in the future.

When J&J started selling ASR hip implants in 2005, it touted that the device would provide patients with greater range of motion than other products, and that they would last 20 years. However, in the few short years after the devices were made available, more and more patients complained of pain, dislocation, and metal poisoning. Because of complications, many had the devices surgically removed.

In 2010, J&J’s DePuy Orthopedics, which made the ASR implants, recalled 93,000 of the devices worldwide, citing a highly excessive failure rate of 12 percent within five years, according to Bloomberg.

“The ASR ranks as one of the most-flawed medical implants ever sold and the pain and suffering it has caused is immeasurable,” lawyer Joseph H. Saunders, whose firm handles medical device and hip recall lawsuits, wrote in a column in The Legal Examiner. “Over 30,000 patients in the U.S. had the ASR implanted. As these dangerous implants continue to fail, I fully expect that J&J will have thousands more related lawsuits to settle.”

The possible settlement over more ASR implant lawsuits comes on the heels of a court win by J&J. Last week, a Texas federal court jury ruled in favor of the company and denied the claims of a woman who sought damages for alleged injuries caused by her Pinnacle implants, another line of metal-on-metal artificial hips marketed by J&J.