The news circulating among product liability circles is that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is considering a settlement of $3 Billion for compensation for plaintiffs against the ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement system (ASR) manufacturer. This works out to about $300,000 for each plaintiff. It is being alleged that the design of the ASR was defective and that not enough clinical trials were carried out. The ASR was developed and manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a division of J&J.
J&J recalled the ASR in 2010 when an alarming number of units, nearly 1 for every 8 patients, failed within 5 years. This failure resulted in several repair operations, pain, metallosis, and prolonged temporary disability. The financial burden was certainly heavy, and the long-term health effects have yet to be fully appreciated.
The figure mentioned is the highest settlement ever to be reached for hip implants, outclassing the $1 Billion that Sulzer AG paid for their own defective hip implant product. However, the rumors have yet to be substantiated. The DePuy spokesperson declined to make elucidate the matter, merely point out that such speculations are premature and “dangerous.”