J&J hit by $1bn hip implant lawsuit

pharmafile | December 2, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications J&J, JJ, lawsuit 

Johnson & Johnson have been hit with yet another payout to patients who claim its products caused them harm. First, the company’s talcum powder was the subject of scrutiny over allegations it was linked to several women’s development of ovarian cancer. This time, it is the J&J’s hip implants at the centre of new accusations.

The pharma and medical giant and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit were ordered by a Dallas federal jury to pay $1 billion to six California residents implanted with the company’s hip implants due to claims they experienced bone erosion and tissue death, among other symptoms, because of its defective design. The plaintiffs asserted that the company failed to adequately warn about the device’s risks. The total sum incorporated $32 million in compensatory damages.

Pinnacle implants, manufactured by the company, are metal-on-metal implants which the plaintiffs claimed were marketed as longer-lasting than plastic or ceramic alternatives. J&J face close to 8,400 lawsuits over the implants, which have been consolidated in Texas federal court.   

Mark Lanier, lawyer to the plaintiffs, stated that the verdict sheds light on “a really nasty part of [J&J’s] business they need to clean up.” According to Lanier, the company turned down a settlement of $1.8 million before the trial.

J&J’s attorney John Beisner responded to the verdict on behalf of the company, saying “Today’s verdict provides no guidance on the merits of the overall Pinnacle litigation because the court’s rulings precluded a fair presentation to the jury.” According to Beisner, the company will now attempt to delay further trials over the implants.

This is not the first time the company has been implicated over its hip implants; the company was hit was 7,000 lawsuits leading to a payout of $2.5 billion over its ASR hip devices, which it was forced to recall due to high failure rates.

Matt Fellows

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