Beacon Transcript – Johnson & Johnson were sentenced to a $1 billion verdict by a Texas jury as their hip implants were found to be faulty and host unrevealed problems.
Johnson & Johnson is a New Brunswick, New Jersey-based multinational company which specializes in medical and pharmaceutical devices. The company is also a packaged goods for consumers manufacturer.
Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson or J&J received the verdict in the case involving one of the company’s hip replacement products.
The current $1 billion fine verdict is not the first and may not be the last such case the company has to face involving the same product.
The unit in question is one of the DePuy hip replacement products, the ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal. DePuy is a J&J subsidiary which tests and produces medical devices aimed at solving orthopaedical, neuroscience, and spinal care aids and solutions.
ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal is one such product as it acts as a hip replacement for patients in need. However, the product has been causing quite some controversies due mostly to the material on which it is based.
A number of lawsuits have already been filed against J&J. Patients have started complaining that the prosthetics may be the cause of or lead to bloodstream poisonings.
Besides being dangerous in itself, this usually also requires a change of prosthetics as the current devices were observed to fall off, which in turn requires their removal.
The cause of the bloodstream poisoning is thought to be determined by cobalt and chromium materials leaks coming from the metal-on-metal implants.
As the current $1 billion verdict case was not the first case of its type, it nonetheless features the highest verdict.
J&J was involved in its first ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal lawsuit back in 2014, case won by the company.
Since then, Johnson & Johnson was faced with a number of other similar trials, all featuring similar or the same claims.
Both the first and the subsequent cases claimed that the company did, in fact, know about the potential blood poisoning issue.
However, despite the potential dangers caused by the metal-on-metal device, the company decided to go ahead and ignore them. It also reportedly failed to denounce the issues and also continued selling the devices.
Just earlier this year, a Dallas-based jury decided in favor of a number of 5 patients that filed a lawsuit with these claims.
As the initial settlement value was of $502 million, a jury later decided to reduce the sum to $150 million.
According to company statements, J&J is planning on also appealing on the current $1 billion verdict case. The verdict, which was also delivered by a Dallas-based jury set a $1 billion verdict for the lawsuit’s punitive damages.
The six patients to have filed the case have been granted over $30 million so as to account for the damages caused by the reportedly faulty device.
As J&J is considering an appeal, the company together with DePuy have asked judges for a temporal pause in their other hip device trials.
The company will reportedly have to face a number of other 8,900 lawsuits concerning the hip replacement product.
Later Edit: As the initial article was talking about a settlement, the court has now ruled a verdict. The company’s take on the matter has also been included as Johnson & Johnson have, in the meantime, issued a public statement.
According to Mindy Tinsley, a DePuy spokesperson, the company has been and is constantly trying to offer new and innovative medical solutions. These are designed and produced so as to offer its users the chance of living an active and comfortable life.
As all of the company’s designs undergo rigurous tests and follow the regulations, the company does not consider to be responsible of the unexpected adverse reactions.
Tinsley stated that the ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal product, besides rigurously following the regulations and having had its design and utility tested, it is also backed by clinical data.
As the strong track record of clinical data went to show, the metal prosthetic was demonstrated to have restored mobility and reduced the users’ pain.
As opposed to other similar cases, J&J and DePuy drew attention to the case restrictions and rulings. The companies have had to defend themselves against six simultaneos plaintiffs.
This means that they have had to move for mistral six times and may have not been given the chance of fairly and properly defending themselves against the allegations.
As such, the companies will be preparing post-trial motions so as to challenge the $1 billion verdict as they have strong motives to do so. They will also be continuing their long-term defense in other similar allegations trials.
Image Source: Wikimedia