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Faulty hip implants: SC takes note of compensation scheme, closes case against US firm

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Friday closed the case seeking action against US-based pharma and for allegedly fitting faulty implants, and said that steps have been taken by the Centre to provide compensation of up to Rs 1.22 crore to patients who have been impacted.

A bench comprising and Justice S K Kaul took note of the steps taken by the Union on award of compensation to the aggrieved persons and said that there was "no justification" to keep the petition pending.

The apex court was informed by Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, that certain modifications were suggested by two panels, headed by doctors and R K Arya respectively, on determination of quantum of compensation payable to the victims of faulty and the has accepted them.

The committee "recommended that compensation up to the extent of Rs 1.22 crore approximately can be granted and also the principles/formula for grant of compensation have/has been recommended, which recommendations have been accepted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare," the bench noted in the order.

"In view of the developments that have taken place, we do not find any justification in keeping this matter pending any longer. The same is accordingly closed with the direction that the constitution of the Committee and the principles for award of compensation have to be given wide publicity to enable all the affected persons to approach the Committee, if so advised. The writ petition is accordingly disposed of," it said.

The apex court was hearing the PIL of alleging that "faulty" and "deadly" have been fitted into the bodies of 4,525 Indian patients who had undergone the replacement surgeries since 2005.

Earlier, the court had also asked the to apprise it about the actions, if any, taken after an expert committee had allegedly found the pharma firms guilty of "medical negligence".

and had referred to the fact that the central had in 2017 set up a committee headed by Agarwal to look into the aftermath of the disaster caused by the faulty hip produced and distributed by the US firm, its Indian subsidiary and Orthopaedics INC collectively.

"The Committee has found and Johnson guilty of medical negligence, however, till date nothing has been done to discover vast number of patients who had undergone hip transplant," said the plea filed by Goenka, whose mother had died following faulty hip surgeries.

The plea had sought a direction to the Centre and for taking effective measures to save lives of those who have undergone "ASR hip surgeries and would be unknowingly living a life in hell, if alive or may be dead, due to the negligent acts of respondents".

Orthopaedics Inc (USA), a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, makes, sells and exports medical including articular surface replacements (ASR) hip implants, the plea said, adding that the have been withdrawn by the firms on their own in 2010 on the ground that they were defective.

The firms "illegally sold DePuy ASR in from 2005 to 2006. In fact, applied for Import license only on December 6, 2006 and was granted license by (India) on December 15, 2006; however, showing contempt and disregard to Indian Laws for safety of Indian Citizens, Respondents (the firms) imported and sold the implants even without Imports License," it said.

The plea, which has sought a SIT probe to oversee the effective measures for implementation of immediate actions to save the lives of patients of DePuy ASR Implants, had referred to the fact that the company had to pay USD 4.40 Billion to over 9,000 victims of faulty implants in the USA and in no such measures have been undertaken.

"As on date more than 1,500 are pending in the Federal Courts in USA for adjudication," it added.

The plea has sought a direction to the Centre to advertise about recall implants by the firms and devise a mechanism to ensure safety of 14,525 Indian Patients who had undergone the surgeries since 2005.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 19:45 IST