Johnson and Johnson (J&J), a Swiss multinational corporation that markets consumer toiletries and niche healthcare products, has been hit with a lawsuit over their faulty hip implants. This lawsuit follows similar verdicts of guilt over their talcum powders and their insulin pumps this year.

In a judgement passed by a federal jury in Texas last week, J&J, together with DePuy Orthopaedics, was ordered to provide compensation of slightly more than $1 billion to six patients retrofitted with J&J’s Pinnacle hip implants.

Six injured by hip implants

The jurors found that these hip implants, which were different from conventional hip implants made from ceramic or plastic and are metal-on-metal, were defectively designed and that users were not advised of its risks appropriately before implantation.

J&J faces over 8,400 lawsuits across the states over the faulty hip implants, and say in a statement that they would immediately appeal against the verdict, and would defend themselves and DePuy against further litigations. These lawsuits were consolidated in the Texas Federal Courts.

These six patients were all Californians, and they alleged that the faulty hip implants - attributable towards design flaws - caused them to suffer from tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries. It was also alleged that J&J promised that these hip implants were more durable than conventional ones, and that this promise fell short of expectations.

Of the total of $1.041 billion, $32 million was for compensation, while the others were attributable to punitive damages.

Loud and clear signal to “clean up”

Despite the mammoth damages awarded, due to a legislation restricting the maximum permissible punitive damages to be awarded.

In a previous case as involving the same equipment, the judge reduced the initial $500 million damages to $151 million due to that particular piece of legislation.

This newest verdict is the third of such case; J&J and DePuy was cleared of wrongdoing in the first such case back then in 2014.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Mark Lanier, said that the verdict sent "a message loud and clear" that J&J has "a really nasty part of their business they need to clean up." He added that J&J and DePuy rejected a $1.8 million pre-court settlement before the trial commenced.

In their defence, J&J said in a statement provided by their attorney, that, “Today’s verdict provides no guidance on the merits of the overall Pinnacle litigation because the court’s rulings precluded a fair presentation to the jury,”

Multiple lawsuits over multiple product lines

It is noted that this variant of hip replacements had ceased sales, back then in 2013, over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s strengthening of their artificial hip regulations.

In addition, a grand total of $2.5 billion was paid out by both parties over their ASR metal-on-metal hip devices. These devices were recalled 2010 over their high failure rates.

This verdict of guilt follows previous lawsuits over their other products, namely their insulin pumps, and their talcum powders.

Their insulin pumps were found to be susceptible towards hacking, and as such, an advisory was issued to its 114,000 patients who use the implants across the States and Canada.

J&J’s talcum powders was found to be responsible for giving woman ovarian cancer after woman used their bestseller talcum power products, “Baby Powder” and “Shower to Shower”. This was a result of a class action lawsuit filed 2014 that alleged that J&J did not provide warnings that using three decades of baby powder would place her at risk of developing ovarian cancer. MIMS

Read more:
Remotely controlled insulin pump susceptible to hacking
400,000 implanted heart devices recalled after battery failure causes two deaths
A detailed look at the implications of the Access to Medicine 2016 index

Sources:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-verdict-hipimplants-idUSKBN13Q5XF
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-cyber-insulin-pumps-e-idUSKCN12411L
https://www.drugwatch.com/talcum-powder/lawsuits/