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Johnson & Johnson to Pay $2.5 Billion to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits

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 are ongoing.

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.

According to 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.