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J&J Reaches Record $4B Settlement of DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Lawsuits

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New York, NY: Reports indicate that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to pay more than $2 billion to settle thousands of DePuy hip replacement lawsuits. DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of J&J, withdrew its ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement on August 24, 2010 following nearly 300 complaints from people undergoing hip replacement.

The ASR hip replacement is a metal-on-metal device believed to have a design flaw that has resulted in many patients needing follow-up hip revision surgery to replace the device soon after implant. Some patients also claim the implant leaves metal particles embedded in surrounding tissue as it wears down. The ASR is considered by a number of orthopedic experts to be a defective product and DePuy hip replacement lawsuits are currently pending.

According to reports by Bloomberg and The New York Times, the settlement, which should effectively cover some 7,500 outstanding Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) state and federal lawsuits against J&J, will be the largest settlement for a medical device in US history.

If approved, J&J will pay an average of $300,000 per surgery. Further, the agreement will also reportedly cover future surgeries required by people whose ASR hip replacements have not yet failed. Effectively, this means there is no cap to the settlement in terms of total value, sources say. The settlement is expected to be announced next week in federal court in Toledo, Ohio.

According to Bloomberg, J&J has already spent roughly $993 million on medical costs informing patients and surgeons about the recall.

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