Patients in India who had received faulty hip implants from Johnson&Johnson subsidiary on Monday complained to the Union health ministry about what they say is lack of transparency and dialogue in the process of determining their compensation amounts.
A group of patients or family members of patients who had received the hip implants recalled by the company in August 2010 has said it has “concerns” over whether the government-initiated process to compensate them will be “fair, just, equitable and reasonable”.
In a letter sent to health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda, the patients and family members have complained that they have not been consulted “even a single time” in the ongoing process of determining the compensation amounts.
The health ministry had last month asked a panel of four doctors and a lawyer to determine compensation amounts that Johnson&Johnson should pay patients in India who had received the faulty implants.
Around 4,700 patients across India had received the hip implants between July 2004 and August 2010 when the company withdrew the devices worldwide amid growing evidence that they were associated with an unacceptably high need for repeat, or revision, surgeries.
The health ministry had also asked states to establish state-level panels to examine case-by-case applications from affected patients and determine the compensation amounts, depending on the degree of suffering of each patient.
The patients and their representatives, in the letter to Nadda, have said there is lack of clarity over which cases will be considered appropriate for compensation and whether compensation will take into account multiple harms such as mental and physical pain, suffering and trauma.
The letter from the patients and family members has said there is no clarity on how the panel asked to determine compensation is functioning.
A health ministry panel had earlier this year recommended a “base amount” compensation of Rs 20 lakh and the exact amount to be determined on the basis of the suffering experienced by each patient.
But sections of patients in India who had undergone revision surgery after receiving the recalled implants have said Rs 20 lakh compensation is not sufficient, citing higher compensation amounts in other countries.
The company had between 2013 and 2015 settled more than 9,000 lawsuits over the implants for $4.4 billion, according to a report from Drugwatch, a US-based website on medicines and devices.