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First of thousands agree to settlement for recalled hip implants

Johnson & Johnson settled the first three of nearly 8,000 lawsuits filed over the drug company's ASR hip implants. The company recalled 37,000 of its hip replacements parts in the United States two years.

The first three suits were consolidated and settled for $200,000 each, before appearing in court later this year. A University of Michigan business professor who specializes in the pharmaceutical industry said the settlement was at the low end of what Johnson & Johnson would have been expected to pay had the case gone to court. He expects the drug company to spend as much as $2 billion on the settlements before it's all said and done.

The hip implants allegedly were made of cobalt and chromium which causes the death of tissue around the joint and possibly increase the amount of metal ions in the bloodstream to harmful levels. The three plaintiffs in this case all experienced pain, health problems and bone damage and had to have the artificial hips removed.

Already, the company said it has spent more than $800 million on the lawsuit since the hip implants were recalled in 2010, including legal fees, research and product liability costs. However, creating a low settlement precedent in this first round will help keep plaintiffs' expectations low.

As in all medical malpractice lawsuits including doctor error, drug defects and medical device failures, it is terribly distressful to think we could be injured by the very people and products we expect to help us. Learn more by reading our Michigan medical malpractice web page.

Source: nj.com, "Johnson & Johnson to pay $600,000 to settle suits over recalled hip implants," Aug. 21, 2012

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