Johnson & Johnson has been indicted by a Government committee for “suppressing” key facts on the aftermath of its ASR knee implant surgeries. Over 3,600 patients with the implants remain untraceable and, at least four deaths were reported from those who got these implants — that case, filed by the family of a patient who died, is now in the Supreme Court.
What slipped under the radar is a story of how Johnson & Johnson used a loophole in US laws to push into the Indian market, just like it did with ASR, another hip implant product, Pinnacle, without any clinical trials in the country, an investigation has found.
Both Pinnacle and ASR were found to be “faulty” but while the company officially recalled the ASR implant in 2010, it “commercially withdrew” the Pinnacle device only three years later. This qualified withdrawal means that patients suffering “multiple complications” from ASR implants were liable to be compensated. But for those who used the Pinnacle device, justice remains a distant dream.
On Monday, the Implant Files, an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and 59 media houses including, exposed how medical devices are advertised, sold, and surgically implanted across the world under regulatory systems riddled with holes.