UPA allowed the import of Johnson and Johnson’s faulty hip implants in India: Centre tells SC

After a Supreme Court Bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph sought a response from the Centre on a plea alleging medical negligence by the US based firm Johnson and Johnson (J&J), the Centre submitted before the Supreme Court that the UPA government allowed the import of the faulty hip implants in India even after the company withdrew its product from Australia, according to reports.

According to the response filed by the Centre, the UPA government allowed the import of the faulty hip implants of Johnson & Johnson in February 2010 which the company had withdrawn from Australia in December 2009 after complaints. The company had applied for license in India in January 2010 after it had already withdrawn the product from Australia in 2009, claimed the affidavit filed by Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO).

J&J had informed the CDSCO on September 23, 2009 that it has not received any complaints about the hip implant in the last three years. Thereafter on March 8, 2010, J&J  in its safety notice to CDSCO informed about a higher rate of revision surgeries on patients who had received hip implant products of J&J. The company informed the CDSCO about the voluntary recall of the product from India on August 24, 2010.

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The petition claimed that the lives of 14,525 patients in India were endangered due to “large scale and illegal implantation of faulty, deadly and poisonous DePuy ASR Hip Implants”.

A committee was set up in 2017 headed by Dr Arun Aggarwal to look into the aftermath of the matter which had found J&J guilty of medical negligence. “The firm has failed to provide medical management to all the patients. In addition, the firm has not paid compensation to any patient so far as per available records,” the committee’s report said. The report suggested a base compensation of Rs 20 lakh to each patient who received the faulty hip implant.

The Centre has refused to accept J&J’s stand of not providing reimbursement to the patients after August 24, 2017 and has asked the company to extend the reimbursements til 2025.

The Central Expert Committee headed by Dr R K Arya had created a formula for recalculation of compensation to patients who received the faulty hip implants and fixed an outer limit of 1.22 crore.

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