Johnson and Johnson Company (J&J), owner of DePuy Orthopedics, has tentatively agreed to a settlement of $4 Billion in cases related to the defective DePuy ASR artificial hip, it was revealed Tuesday.  While the settlement still requires approval of the court, this would represent one of the largest payouts for a product liability claim involving a medical device.

There are currently approximately 12,000 cases against J&J for this product, which was recalled from the market in 2010, after it became apparent that the product failed at a sharply higher rate than other similar products. The Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) ball and cup were both made of metal, which would fragment as it wore, discharging small amounts of metal particles into the patient’s surrounding tissues, causing pain, and in some cases crippling injuries.

DePuy estimated that the product would fail in 40% of patients who received the product, within 5 years; a rate 8 times higher than other similar hip products.  First sold in 2003, approximately 93,000 patients had the product installed.   DePuy recalled the product in 2010 and at the same time, announced that it would pay medical costs to have the product replaced.

Under this proposed settlement, each patient who had the product installed and later replaced would receive about $350,000 average compensation.  This amount may vary depending on the patient’s age and medical condition.  Out of the 12,000 lawsuits against DePuy, it is believed that 7,000 to 8,000 will settle with this agreement.

If the court approves this proposed plan, most litigation against J&J for this product will be resolved. However, DePuy is still involved in a large action for another metal to metal hip product called the Pinnacle.


Additional Resources: