The Union health ministry on Thursday approved a formula to calculate compensation amounts for patients in India who had received faulty hip implants manufactured by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary before their recall in August 2010.
The formula recommended by a panel of experts set up by the health ministry earlier this year will yield compensation amounts ranging from Rs 30 lakh to about Rs 1.2 crore, depending on the degree of disability and age of the hip implant recipients.
About 4,700 patients across India had between July 2004 and August 2010 received the implants made by DePuy, a J&J subsidiary. The company withdrew the implants worldwide in August 2010 amid concerns that they were associated with an unacceptably high need for repeat, or revision, surgeries.
The panel chaired by R.K. Arya, director of the sports injury centre at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, has recommended a compensation formula that combines a base amount of Rs 20 lakh with the patient’s age and the degree of disability and an amount of Rs 10 lakh as a non-pecuniary damage.
The health ministry has cited examples of compensation amounts. A patient aged 65 years or older with 20 per cent to 30 per cent disability will receive a compensation of Rs 30 lakh. But if the disability is 50 per cent or higher, the compensation amount will be Rs 60 lakh.
A younger person would receive higher compensation. A 20-year-old implant recipient with 20 per cent to 30 per cent disability would receive Rs 55 lakh. If the disability level is 50 per cent or higher, the compensation amount would be about Rs 1.2 crore.
The health ministry said Johnson & Johnson would pay the compensation to the patients through their bank accounts.
Vijay Vojhala, a Mumbai resident who had received a faulty hip implant and is among patients who had to undergo the revision surgery, said a group of patients is examining the formula approved by the health ministry and will respond on Friday.
Vojhala and others had said earlier this year that they fear the compensation amounts in India would be significantly lower than what the company has paid patients in the US.
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson had between 2013 and 2015 settled more than 9,000 lawsuits in the US for US$4.4 billion, according to a report earlier this year in Drugwatch, a US-based website that tracks medicines and devices.