The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s reply on a PIL asking the government to trace all the patients who have allegedly undergone faulty hip implants marketed and sold by Johnson & Johnson. Heading the Bench, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also asked the government to furnish a copy of the report filed by the expert committee on the same issue. The PIL comes following an Indian Express report that ‘Johnson & Johnson buried key facts on faulty hip implant surgeries and kept regulator in the dark’
In his plea, petitioner Arun Goenka asked the court to direct the government to advertise across India about the recall of the faulty implants. It also sought action against officials, who had issued a certificate to the multinational firms for selling the faulty product without any clinical trial. The plea also sought the appointment of a Special Investigations Team (SIT) to oversee effective measures for the implementation of immediate action against the implants.
In a “clear abdication of responsibility”, Johnson & Johnson did not inform the national regulator about the exact number of patients who used these devices, the adverse reports following such surgeries and the corrective operations subsequently conducted. It also “did not provide any compensation” to those affected. The findings form the core of the report prepared by an expert committee set up by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to investigate complaints on the hip implant devices sold by the company in India. The committee, which was set up on February 8, 2017, submitted its report on February 19, 2018. The Government is yet to implement the recommendations.
The report states that over 3,600 patients with the faulty implants remain untraceable, and that at least four deaths have been reported from those who underwent surgeries using these devices.