Patients meet expert committee on J&J hip implants

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A hip fracture patient walking on a treadmill
A hip fracture patient walking on a treadmill

The families of affected patients are still awaiting compensation

Nearly 40 victims and family members of MNC Johnson & Johnson’s ASR hip implants met with the Central Expert Committee in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The patients are members of the Hip Implant Patients Support Group (HIPS).

“We are glad that the government and the Central Expert Committee finally called us for this meeting though the limited duration of the meeting meant we could place our concerns and cases before the committee only in a limited way. Still we hope this is only the first meeting with the government and that even in this short time they were able to see the true extent of suffering and devastation of our lives caused by J&J’s ASR hip implants,” said Renu Seth of Delhi.

“We will not rest till J&J is investigated, prosecuted and held accountable for their criminal negligence and actions that have left us disabled, in pain and with life long suffering”

The pharma major has been in the eye of the storm for selling faulty hip implants which were used in many surgeries affecting many patients.

In August 2018, the report of the Agarwal Committee set up by the government was released which recommended compensation for ASR hip implant victims. Subsequently, a Central Expert Committee headed by Dr. R.K. Arya was convened in October 2018 to start the compensation process. The compensation formula recently approved by the government has met with serious concerns from patients as it had many deficiencies, exclusions and lacunae. The patients shared their views regarding the compensation formula, the process and related issues at this much delayed meeting with the Central Expert Committee.

“For my husband and me it came as a great shock when our doctors told us to stop planning a family due to the levels of cobalt and chromium in my body and the negative impacts that could have on pregnancy and on any baby we would conceive,” said Jyoti Rani of Vishakhapatnam who suffered a miscarriage years after the recall of the device and was unaware of toxicity associated with the implant until 2016.

“We are encouraged by the opportunity to interact with the Committee members to explain the range of our suffering because of the hip implants, the aggravation of pain and misery caused by unjustifiably delayed medical attention and other negative impacts on our lives,” said Abhishek Bamba who suffers from severe complications from bilateral ASR hip implants.

The patients travelled to Delhi on their own expense to meet the committee. “Many of our members are in the Consumer Court or in other forums demanding justice from J&J and the government. We will continue our efforts on all fronts. We have made it clear to the government and the Central Expert Committee that compensation is only one part of our battle. We will not rest till J&J is investigated, prosecuted and held accountable for their criminal negligence and actions that have left us disabled, in pain and with life long suffering,” said Vijay Vojhala of Mumbai, Maharashtra.