New Delhi, December 15: The Delhi High Court has refused any interim relief to Johnson and Johnson, which has, on the basis of reports of the two Committees, challenged the formula approved by the Union government to determine compensation for the patients who had received faulty hip implants. The Court further said that the plea is neither important nor urgent.
India’s top advisory board in its meeting on 29 November constituted a sub-committee of ten experts to deliberate on the issue of amendment of Medical Devices Rules, 2017, to include provisions for compensation by the manufacturer and importer in case of injury or death due to device malfunction.
In a press release, the government informed the general public about the formula worked out by the expert committee to compensate patients. According to the committee report, compensation payable to patients would be determined in terms of the disability by the faulty hip implants in relation to their age. According to the press release, Indian patients suffering because of the hip implants sold by Johnson and Johnson would get as much as ₹1.2 crore each and an additional ₹10 lakh for nonpecuniary losses. The minimum compensation according to the formula in case of a disability would be ₹33 lakh.
US-based pharmaceutical giant in a statement said that the formula for compensation needs to be reformulated after proper hearing of the facts and positions of all the parties. As reported by Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson has begun settling consumers’ claims and has settled about 3,300 of 10,000, marking the first settlements in the seven-year-old litigation.
Another PIL in the same matter is pending before the Supreme Court. According to a report by the mint, with no specific legal provisions in the existing Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act, 1940, or rules to provide compensation to patients in such cases, there is thought to be no way for the government to force the company to pay up.
The company had used a lacuna in the law because of which the government cannot compel it to compensate. For now, to put down this prolonged fire, the government is traversing all legal angles to make the company pay up to the patients affected by the faulty acetabular surface replacement hip implants.