- Last week, a federal jury ruled Johnson & Johnson to pay five individuals a total of $502 million for injuries caused by hip replacement devices, Modern Healthcare reports.
- The ruling consolidated five cases as "bellwether" cases to possibly guide future settlements.
- In addition, the company is settling a round of claims and lawsuits alleging a now-discontinued hysterectomy device helped spread "undetected hidden cancer," The Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal reports of the "100 or so claims," about 70 have been recently settled.
The hip replacement ruling could help decide the fate of similar claims filed by about 7,000 additional plaintiffs. Without explicitly doing the math, $502 million for five individuals scaled to 7,000 individuals adds up to a potentially costly settlement for J&J.
The claims against the company regarding the hip devices allege PInnacle Ultamet hip replacements diffused metal detritus into the individuals' blood. The replacements are made by J&J's DePuy Orthopaedics, who denies the hip replacements are defective and noted it will appeal the decision. At this time, the devices have not been recalled.
For the claims regarding the hysterectomy device, a power morcellator, the settlement payments will vary. The device cuts up fibroids to assist providers in removing tissue. However, the claims alledge the device accidentally helps spread uterine cancer. "Some of its settlements so far have ranged from $100,000 to roughly $1 million, according to a person with knowledge of some recently resolved cases," reports The Wall Street Journal. The device, produced by the company's Ethicon line, was withdrawn from the market in July 2014.