Johnson & Johnson will pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit with the State of Oregon over claims that the company failed to warn doctors and patients that its artificial hip had a high failure rate. The settlement is being called the first of its kind by the Oregon Department of Justice.
The settlement involves Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics’ ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system, which was recalled in 2010 after mounting reports of premature failure. Not only were the devices failing at a higher than expected rate, in some cases the metal devices were corroding inside the body, inflaming tissue, causing pain and disability. Metal ions also leeched into the bloodstream causing a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.
Last fall, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle thousands of personal injury lawsuits filed by people who had to undergo revision surgery to have their defective all-metal hip implant removed and replaced. That agreement, finalized in May, awarded $250,000 to each of the 8,000 patients in that class, with additional money available for patients who suffered extraordinary injuries from the device.
Under the agreement with the state of Oregon , Johnson & Johnson and DePuy do not admit any legal violation. The companies say they agreed to the settlement to resolve the investigation in order to focus on providing more health care solutions for patients.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said the agreement shows Oregon has taken the lead on deceptive marketing practices that hurt people. “Oregonians in need of a hip replacement deserve to know that the artificial hip they are contemplating in fact has the qualities, and benefits, that a company advertises. Doctors also need to know that the products they suggest to their patients meet certain standards; and no company should be permitted to exploit that basic tenet.”
Source: Law 360