More details have emerged about the settlements Johnson & Johnson reached this month in three DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits that were set to go trial in Nevada later this year. According to a report from Bloomberg News, Johnson & Johnson agreed to resolve the three DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits for a total of $600,000. All of three of the plaintiffs had DePuy ASR hip implants removed after experiencing pain and other side effects.
According to Bloomberg, each of the plaintiffs will receive $200,000. One expert interviewed for the report asserted that the figure was “at the low end of what the company should have expected.” Eric Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan who follows the pharmaceutical industry, told Bloomberg that settlements in the range of $200,000 to $500,000 per case are likely.
As we reported yesterday, the plaintiffs’ lawsuits were scheduled to head to trial on December 3 in Nevada’s 8th Judicial District Court. Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit are facing some 8,000 similar lawsuits over the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant device. The bulk of those cases – 6,000 – are pending in a federal multidistrict litigation underway in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. The first bellwether trials in that litigation are scheduled to start on May 6, 2013 and July 8, 2013.
Additional state claims are pending in California, Maryland and elsewhere. A Maryland lawsuit is set for trial in January.
According to Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson had disclosed in January that it had set aside $800 million to cover legal issues associated with the DePuy ASR hip implant. However, Gordon asserted that the company could end up paying as much as $2 billion to resolve the lawsuits.
DePuy Orthopaedics’ ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR Acetabular System were named in a global recall in August 2010. The recall was issued after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years. A total of 93,000 implants were sold worldwide, including 37,000 in the U.S.
Plaintiffs in DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits allege the metal-on-metal hip replacements can shed dangerous amounts of chromium and cobalt into patients’ bloodstreams, leading to a number of serious health problems, including pain, swelling, and dislocation, as well as metallosis, a reaction that results in tissue and bone loss, the formation of pseudotumors, and long-term heart, kidney, nerve and thyroid problems.