J&J faulty hip implants: SC seeks report from Centre’s expert committee

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to submit its expert committee’s report while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which alleged that 14,525 persons have undergone faulty hip implants marketed and sold by Johnson & Johnson Pvt. Ltd (J&J).

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph asked the Centre to file its response on the PIL and also to submit the report of the expert committee within two months.

The PIL filed by Arun Kumar Goenka, a family member of one of the victims, sought direction to trace all the patients who have been fitted with alleged faulty hip implants used for hip replacement surgeries.

“Take appropriate steps for protecting the fundamental rights under Article 21 (right to life) for 14,525 patients who had undergone the deputy acetabular surface replacement (ASR) hip implant surgeries since 2005,” advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma, appearing for the petitioner, contended.

The petition also directed the government to advertise across India about the recall of the faulty implants and device a suitable mechanism for the safety of the 14,525 patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery.

It further sought the appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising of senior medical officers and Indian police service to oversee effective measures for the implementation of immediate action against the implants.

The petitioner also asked the apex court to direct the Centre to take action against officials who had issued a certificate to the multinational firms for selling the faulty product without any proper clinical trial.

Thousands of patients have allegedly suffered disability and spent years in pain after undergoing a hip replacement surgery using Johnson &Johnson’s defective ASR hip implant, the petitioner stated.

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) along with the health ministry had set up a central expert committee as well as state-level committees to determine the actual quantum of compensation for each patient.

The committee had recommended a base amount of Rs 20 lakh for compensation per patients, which the multinational company had agreed upon.

The device was manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which is represented in India by the unlisted Johnson & Johnson Private Ltd.