Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay about $1 billion to resolve most lawsuits claiming it sold defective metal-on-metal hips that ultimately had to be removed, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
With the agreement, J&J has now resolved more than 95 percent of the 6,000 cases in which surgeons extracted the Pinnacle implants because of defects that left patients unable to walk and in pain, according to two people familiar with the settlements. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to talk publicly about the accords.
The roughly $1 billion total includes an earlier settlement for more than $400 million. Still pending are about 4,500 suits by patients with artificial hips that aren’t made totally of metal or haven’t been surgically removed, the people said. It’s unclear how many, if any, of those cases will be settled, they said.
Rather than set up a global settlement program, attorneys for J&J and its DePuy unit, maker of the Pinnacle hip replacements, cut separate deals with plaintiffs’ lawyers to resolve their clients’ cases, the people said. It’s unclear when all the hip suits will be disposed of, they said.
Mindy Tinsley, a J&J spokeswoman, said Tuesday in a statement that settlement negotiations for the Pinnacle cases are continuing and that the world’s largest maker of health care products had set aside funds for the litigation.
While the settlements wrap up more than four years of high-profile litigation, J&J is still grappling with other legal problems, including a wave of cases targeting its baby powder for allegedly causing cancer and other suits alleging it took a “kingpin” role in the opioid-painkiller epidemic. J&J faces a May trial in Oklahoma over the state’s allegations that it helped fuel a surge of overdoses in the state.
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