Government may revise compensation formula for ‘faulty’ Johnson & Johnson hip implant patients

NEW DELHI: The government may revise a formula it approved last month to calculate how much compensation should be given to patients aggrieved by ‘faulty’ hip implants sold by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary between 2004-2010, with the health ministry‘s central compensation committee now expected to hold regular meetings with “all stakeholders”, ET has learnt.

The development follows opposition to the approved formula by several patients as well as J&J in the last month.

The health ministry on Monday instructed the committee, headed by RML head of orthopedics department RK Arya, to hold “fortnightly” meetings with stakeholders including aggrieved patients and the company, a senior government official told ET on condition of anonymity. These meetings, which were primarily supposed to be held to consider individual cases for compensation from different States, will also be used to hear these stakeholders out on any issues they have with the formula, the official said.

The government has instructed the committee to, in turn, send their views on these issues to the health ministry.

The formula approved so far by the health ministry in November uses a combination of the patient’s age, level of disability due to the implant, a base compensation of Rs20 lakh and an additional Rs10 lakh for damages that cannot be readily quantified. It would see J&J pay anywhere between Rs30 lakh and Rs1.23 crore to each patient who has suffered adverse reactions because of the product, termed “faulty” by another expert committee set up by the health ministry to look into the implants in 2017.

The formula was opposed by a group of over 70 patients as well as J&J, which dragged the health ministry to the Delhi High Court earlier this month seeking to quash the formula and prevent any coercive steps against it.

“Whether it is the affected persons or Johnson & Johnson or anybody else, if they have any grouse with the formula, they can always go to the committee with suggestions, and the committee can examine them,” said the official cited earlier.

“When there are thousands of cases, it is quite possible that there will be some angles that have not been addressed,” the official said, adding that if any change is required, the government will look into it “with an open mind”.

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