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Govt reveals hip cash formula, SC satisfied

Compensation would depend on extent of disabilities caused to patient who got faulty DePuy implants between 2005 and 2010

By Our Legal Correspondent in New Delhi

  • Published 12.01.19, 4:13 AM
  • Updated 12.01.19, 4:13 AM
The Supreme Court directed the Centre to give wide publicity to the hip implant compensation scheme.
The Supreme Court directed the Centre to give wide publicity to the hip implant compensation scheme. (Shutterstock)

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday it had evolved a compensation scheme for the thousands of Indians whom Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy supplied with faulty hip implants, with the damages ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 1.22 crore.

The compensation a patient receives would depend on the extent of disabilities caused to him or her, the Union heath ministry said through solicitor-general Tushar Mehta.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul directed the Centre to give wide publicity to the scheme. Satisfied with the steps taken by the government, it disposed of a public interest petition moved by a Delhi-based social activist.

At least 4,700 patients across India received the DePuy implants between 2005 and August 2010, the month the devices were recalled from the country.

A government panel has found that the company had not informed Indian regulators in 2010 about its recall of the implants from Australia in December 2009. About 93,000 patients worldwide received the recalled implants, but not all patients need revision surgery.

Petitioner Arun Kumar Goenka had through counsel Vivek Narayan Sharma alleged that neither Mumbai police, who had initially lodged an FIR, nor the Union health ministry had taken any civil or criminal action against the US-based company or its officials.

The Centre told the court the compensation amounts had been suggested by an expert committee headed by Dr Arun Kumar Agarwal, ENT professor at the Maulana Azad Medical College.

It said a public notice was issued on September 11 last year to enable the aggrieved patients to approach the committee for any necessary assistance.

A Johnson and Johnson spokesperson had said in September that the company had tracked 1,080 patients in India and reimbursed the cost of revision surgery to the 275 patients who needed such surgery.

Goenka has cited the Mumbai FIR to suggest that around 15,820 “DePuy ASR hip implants” were imported to India till 2010 but only around 1,295 devices were recalled, suggesting that up to 14,500 patients may have received faulty implants.

He alleged that the thousands who had undergone the hip implants in the country “would be unknowingly living a life in hell, if alive or maybe dead, due to the negligent acts” of Johnson and Johnson, the central government and the Mumbai police.

He stressed that the whereabouts or conditions of several thousands of these patients still remained unknown.

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