Johnson and Johnson case: Approved compensation plan for recipients of faulty hip implants, says centre to SC

Taking note, the bench said it found no reason to keep the petition pending and closed it.

The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it had approved a formula suggested by a committee set up by it by way of which recipients of faulty hip implants sold and marketed by Johnson and Johnson could get up to Rs 1.2 crore as compensation. This will apply to patients who received the implants before August 2010, the government told a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul in an affidavit filed in response to a PIL by Delhi resident Arun Kumar Goenka.

Goenka had said his mother was a victim of faulty hip implants and that a consumer complaint against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc and Indian arm Johnson & Johnson Limited was pending before National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. He pointed out that in February 2017, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare constituted a Committee under Chairmanship of Dr Arun Agarwal, Professor of E.N.T., Maulana Azad Medical College, to look into the matter. Though the committee had submitted its report, "till date nothing has been done to discover a vast number of patients who had undergone hip transplant", he contended and sought urgent steps to identify the victims.

Acting on his plea, the apex court asked the Centre to furnish a copy of the report. The Centre furnished the Agarwal Committee report and said that acting on its recommendations, Health Ministry set up a Central Expert Committee "to determine the quantum of compensation as admissible under the law, in repaint of the faulty ASR Hip Implants manufactured by M/s DePuy International Limited, U.K., and implanted in India".

Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that a public notice was issued on September 11, 2018 "to enable the aggrieved persons to approach the Committee and further that the Committee has already had five sittings…". Taking note, the bench said it found no reason to keep the petition pending and closed it. It directed that constitution of the committee and principles for award of compensation be publicised to enable all affected persons to approach it.