New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed Johnson and Johnson to make interim payment of ₹25 lakh each to 67 patients who have undergone revision surgeries for faulty hip implants made by the company.
The court’s direction came after the company said it has verified that these patients have undergone a revision surgery and it was voluntarily paying them ₹25 lakh as compensation.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the company to disburse the cheques to the claimants within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on August 8.
The court made it clear that it has not examined the controversy involved and that this payment will not prejudice the rights of patients from seeking any further compensation from the company.
It also said that in case any other judicial forum awards a compensation higher than ₹25 lakh to the patients, the company would need to pay the difference amount only.
The court further said that in case the affected patients do not succeed in their claims before any other forum, the company would not be entitled for any refund of its voluntary payment of ₹25 lakh.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) had earlier asked the company to pay ₹65 lakh, ₹74 lakh, ₹1 crore and ₹90.26 lakh to four patients.
As an interim, the court had asked the company pay ₹25 lakh to these four patients, after verification of their documents.
The court was hearing the company’s plea challenging a press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asking it to pay compensation to all the affected patients, as determined by the reports of the committees formed to examine the issues relating to its faulty hip implants.
It contended that the Centre has no jurisdiction under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to fix and enforce the compensation. It said the Centre’s orders fixing the compensation was based on a formula and reports by a set of expert committees and recommendations which the company had challenged and were pending before the High Court. It maintained that the Drugs and Cosmetics Act does not have any provisions that provide for a formula for payment of compensation in matters pertaining to medical devices.