J&J's Pinnacle hip settlements total about $1B: Bloomberg

By cutting individual deals with the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Johnson & Johnson has now settled more than 95% of 6,000 cases related to its Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacements for a running total of about $1 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg.   

That group of cases is related to implants that were surgically removed after patients complained of pain and being unable to walk. About another 4,500 lawsuits remain—from patients who did not have them removed or who received hip devices from the company's DePuy unit that were not fully made of metal—and it is not known how many of those will be settled as well, the report said.  

The total dollar amount also includes previous settlements of over $400 million. A J&J spokesperson told Bloomberg that negotiations for the Pinnacle cases are continuing and that the company has set aside funds for the litigation.

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The news that J&J was in talks to settle the majority of the individual lawsuits broke earlier this year, not long after the medtech giant agreed to pay $120 million to resolve state-level claims against DePuy’s marketing of the Pinnacle hip replacement system in which 46 attorneys general alleged the companies misled the public regarding the implants’ longevity.

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Under that agreement, DePuy said it would base survivorship claims on the most recent data available from its registries as well as maintain a postmarket surveillance and complaint handling program. It also agreed to update its procedures for responding to complaints that do not meet the definition of reportable adverse events.

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Both consumer and state plaintiffs had claimed DePuy advertised a repair or replacement rate of less than 1% after three or five years, though patient registries reported revision rates between 4% and 7% among different implants.

In August 2010, DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR hip replacement systems worldwide after data showed a 12% failure rate within five years in devices designed to last for two decades. DePuy halted sales of its metal-on-metal hip joints in 2013.