Johnson & Johnson may agree to pay an additional $250 million to resolve lawsuits over its ASR metal-on-metal hip implants that were excluded from a $2.5 billion settlement of similar claims last year.
J&J, the world’s largest seller of health-care products, is considering whether to settle more than 1,000 lawsuits over removals of the recalled hip implants that occurred after August 2013, Bloomberg News reports. J&J’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit manufactured these hips. According to two people familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly, the company may extend the same settlement terms that covered patients who had their ASR (articular surface replacement) implants removed before August 2013. Under that agreement, J&J would pay an average of $250,000 per surgery and cover related medical costs to resolve about 8,000 cases. If the agreement is extended, J&J would ease procedural deadlines for ASR hip patients who have not yet had removal surgery.
DePuy recipients allege the hips were defectively designed and cause dislocations and pain, and forced them to undergo removal surgeries known as revisions. They also allege the chromium-and-cobalt implants allow metal ions to build up in recipients’ bloodstreams, causing bone and tissue damage, Bloomberg News reports.
Though the metal-on-metal hip design was expected to last 20 years and give the recipient greater range of motion, DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants worldwide in August 2010, saying 12 percent failed within five years. Internal J&J documents showed 37 percent of ASR hips failed after 4.6 years, Bloomberg News reports, and Australian authorities found a failure rate of 44 percent over seven years of use. Hip replacement devices normally last 15 years or more.
The total cost of the settlements over the ASR devices may exceed $4 billion by the time all cases are resolved, according to Bloomberg News. The settlement does not cover hip litigation outside the U.S.