Victims of Johnson & Johnson faulty Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants have written to the central expert committee (CEC) raising objections to the compensation package proposed by the government. In a 15-page letter to CEC chairman Dr R.K. Arya on February 13, a copy of which IANS has accessed, the Hip Implant Patients Support Group (HIPS) has raised objection to the compensation formula, along with other concerns like process of providing compensation, oversight of reimbursement programme, tracing ASR patients and punitive action against J&J.
The CEC was formed to examine the compensation formula for the patients. The HIPS have also forwarded the letter to Health Ministry Secretary Preeti Sudan, Additional Secretary Arun Singhal, Joint Secretary Mandeep Bhandari and Drug Controller General of India S. Eswara Reddy.
"The proposed base amount value is inadequate as it would not even cover the direct financial losses incurred by patients such as the cost of the initial surgery, costs of follow-up procedures and medical attention due to complications (not reimbursed), loss of income, increased borrowings and interest payments to cover medical treatment," HIPS said in the letter. The Agarwal Committee set up by the government to look into the case, had in August 2018, recommended compensation for ASR hip implant victims. Subsequently, in October 2018, the CEC was convened to start the compensation process.
In November 2018, the Health Ministry approved a formula for determining compensation for those who had received faulty ASR hip implants manufactured by DePuy Johnson and Johnson prior to August 2010. However, the affected patients rejected the compensation proposed by the Centre stating that despite repeated requests, not a single consultation had taken place regarding the compensation process or the formula for determining the quantum of compensation.
The victims also raised serious concerns over the compensation formula, saying it had many deficiencies, exclusions and lacunae. Last month, the committee met around 40 victims who had presented their views on the flaws in the compensation package proposed out by the Health Ministry.
(With inputs from agencies.)