Accepting the recommendations of the expert panel with some modifications, the Union Health Ministry has formed a Central committee and has directed states to form committees at their level to determine the size of compensation to patients, who have been affected due to faulty hip implants of Johnson and Johnson (J&J).
“State level committees, instead of regional committees (as recommended by the expert panel), should be formed to enable hassle-free access to the patients as they can easily approach the state level committee in their respective states. The patients can also be given preference to approach either of the two committees (Central or State),” said a notification dated August 30, 2018.
The expert panel, which submitted its report on February 19, recommended that the company should be made liable to pay at least Rs 20 lakh to each affected patient and that the reimbursement programme for revision surgeries continue until August 2025.
“The Central Committee shall review the report of the State level committee and also other documents submitted by the patients. Quantum of the compensation would be decided by the Central Expert Committee based on the following: base amount of Rs 20 lakh; degree of disability; patient suffering on account of monetary loss of wages and other losses; percentage disability of the patients,” the notification added.
Johnson & Johnson Medical India spokesperson said Tuesday: “We are reviewing the report and look forward to discussing it with the government”.
The key findings of the panel, reported by The Indian Express on August 24, constitute the first official indictment in India against J&J, which imported and sold ASR XL Acetabular Hip System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System in the country — these devices were globally recalled in 2010. The panel found that over 3,600 patients with these implants remain untraceable, and that at least four patients have died.