Delhi HC asks Johnson & Johnson to pay Rs 25 lakh to four patients affected by its faulty hip implants

Aditi Singh May 2 2019
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The Delhi High Court has asked Johnson & Johnson Pvt Ltd. to pay Rs 25 lakh each as compensation to four patients affected by its faulty Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants.

The amount will be paid by the company after verifying the claims of these four patients as per its eligibility standards, before the next date of hearing.

The Court’s order has come after Johnson & Johnson voluntarily vouched to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation to the affected patients on the last day on hearing.

Last month, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had asked Johnson & Johnson to pay Rs. 65 lakh, Rs. 74 lakh, ₹1 crore and ₹90 lakh respectively to these four patients.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru was hearing Johnson & Johnson’s challenge to a press release issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare asking it to pay compensation to all the affected patients, as determined by the reports of the Committees formed to examine the issues relating to its faulty hip implants.

Two Expert Committees were formed under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arun Kumar Agarwal and Dr. RK Arya. While the Agarwal Committee examined the issues relating to faulty ASR hip implants, the Arya Committee determined the quantum of compensation.

The formula is based on the percentage of disability, age factor, and risk factor, and was accepted by the Government of India, as per a press released dated November 29, 2018.

Applying the formula, the patients suffering due to faulty hip implants would get as much as ₹1.2 crore each and an additional ₹10 lakh for “non-pecuniary” losses, Mint has reported.

Johnson & Johnson has challenged the reports of these two Committees as well.

It is the company’s case that the Central Government has no power to constitute the Expert Committees or issue directions to pay compensation under the Drug and Cosmetics Act.

Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi today informed the Court that Johnson has identified a certain number of patients who were eligible to receive compensation after a verification process.

We have set down terms of eligibility.. he/she is not entitled if he/she has not undergone the revision surgery“, Sethi said as he stated that the number of such eligible patients is around 250.

The Court thus directed the company to furnish a list of such patients.

In the meantime, it asked the company to pay Rs 25 lakh each to the four patients for whom CDSCO has already issued orders, after verification of their documents. CDSCO has also been asked to share the details of all the claimants before it.

The Court also granted an additional time of one week to Centre to file its response to the petition.

Johnson & Johnson was represented by  Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi, who was briefed by Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas Partner Ashwin Sapra.

Centre was represented by standing counsel Amit Mahajan.

The Delhi High Court had earlier refused to consider the plea in light of pending public interest litigation on the issue of compensation before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court petition, filed by Arun Kumar Goenka, was disposed of in January this year after the Court accepted the compensation scheme suggested by the Centre.

The matter will be heard next on May 29.

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