Johnson & Johnson faulty hip implant victims on Monday raised concerns with the “process initiated” by the central government to compensate them. In a letter written to Union Health Minister J P Nadda, 30 victims who have undergone the hip replacement alleged that the process to compensate them lacked transparency.
The victims, in their letter, have opposed any involvement of Johnson & Johnson in the process and threatened to boycott the entire exercise if their concerns are not addressed. “To our knowledge, no state-level committees have been instituted. Our apprehensions about the compensation process are compounded by several issues — the lack of clarity about which cases will be considered appropriate for compensation and the documents required of patients to make their claims, the manner in which compensation will be calculated, the lack of expertise in the committee to compensate for broader harm caused,” the letter states.
“Until these and other critical issues with the Central and state committees are resolved, we feel compelled to not participate in the compensation process for ASR hip implant victims in its present form where there is no transparency, lack of concern and lack of dialogue with the patients. We respectfully request the Ministry of Health to protect and uphold our rights instead of the interests of J&J,” the letter states. The government had constituted a five-member Central Expert Committee to determine the quantum of compensation to be given to patients who received “faulty” hip implants manufactured by DePuy International, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson.
The patients have raised concerns that they have “not been consulted even a single time” with regard to the compensation process. “We are unaware of the outcomes of any discussions between the government and J&J. We remain perplexed over the apparent inaction of the government to hold J&J accountable for the harm they have caused to patients, including through criminal proceedings,” they said in the letter.
The expert committee headed by Dr Arun Aggarwal had earlier recommended that Johnson & Johnson be made liable to pay at least Rs 20 lakh to each affected patient and the reimbursement for revision surgeries should continue until August 2025. The Union Health Ministry, after that, had asked principal/health secretaries of all states and UTs to constitute separate state committees so that they can receive such complaints from affected patients.