Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to
settle thousands of product liability lawsuits alleging that its hip implants
caused patients serious harm. The settlement resolves claims by more than
8,000 patients who received the company’s metal-on-metal ASR hip-replacement systems
Studies show that metal-on-metal replacement joints fail at higher rates
than other types of devices. Lawsuits involving other metal hip implants
The risk for patients is that, as the device breaks down, tiny metal particles
may enter into the space around the implant, harming the surrounding tissue.
Some of the metal ions from the metal implant or from the metal particles
may even get into the bloodstream and cause illnesses in other parts of
the body, including the heart, nervous system, and thyroid gland.
Reuters, the settlement funds will compensate patients who were forced to undergo
revision surgery to replace the failed devices. However, the settlement
does not impose a cap on individual claims. Therefore, patients who suffered
more serious complications may be eligible to receive additional compensation.
The announcement comes on the heels of another costly product liability
settlement by Johnson & Johnson. Earlier this month, another unit
of the company agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal
and civil charges that it improperly marketed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.