New Delhi: Johnson and Johnson’s supremacist approach in dispensing compensation for its faulty hip implants is cutting Indian victims to the quick. They are asking if their legs and lives are any inferior to that of Americans. The hapless and despairing victims have called to muscular PM Modi to help them get their due or send the company packing from Indian soil.
The meagre Rs 25 lakh as compensation is being viewed as peanuts vis- a- vis the enormous extent of suffering and devastation the victims have been through. Then, the company has the impertinence and nonchalance to challenge the right of Indian government to impose compensation order. Even courts of the country seem unequal to American company’s might. The company is testing the will power of the Indian government which has shown plenty of it of late in other matters of public interest.
From trying to equate them to unskilled workers to saying that the company is paying them pittance out of mercy, the American Pharma Major is rubbing salts on the wounds of Indian victims with impunity. American victims got compensation and a hefty one at that, on a platter while Indian sufferers would get it as alms. The company’s audacity in denying due compensation to Indian victims is an insult heaped also on the prestige of the country.
In addition to treating them lesser than their American counterparts, the Company is employing all devices of deceits and mean means to thumb nose at justice. The company has gone to the extent of challenging the Indian government’s right to order compensation. It is only ready to compensate patients of its own choosing which hardly numbers less than hundred insisting on only them who underwent revision surgeries.
A diehard Modi supporter 50 year old Dinesh Pillai is elated and gaga over removal of 370 and would have danced in gay abandon but, alas, he could not shake a leg as he has been crippled for life by the faulty hip implant of Johnson and Johnson. But his hopes have floated and he has started believing that PM Modi could be their saviour too. He is trying to put across his woes onto Modi’s notice.
Talking to Medicare News from Mumbai on phone, Mr Pillai said, ‘I would PM Modi removed Johnson and Johnson root branch and body from Indian soil. If the company does not have the heart to compensate, its products should be treated as minefields for Indian people. It is matter of self respect of the country too. I got the faulty hip implant in 2007 and have had to undergo revision surgeries thrice plus my overall health in shambles. I have received Rs 25 lakh but what this meagre sum would amount to? Juxtapose our peanuts to Rs 7 crore that the company paid to every American victim without any fuss and need to limp from pillar to post like us. They think they have compensated us hugely by handing Rs 25 lakh. I want to tell them I give you Rs 50 lakh, give me your legs.’
Medicare News also talked to 47 year old Shailesh Ramchandra Bachate in Mumbai. Mr Bachate said, ‘Rs 25 lakh is a travesty of compensation and justice. My earning from my motor training school has slumped to minimum. My health is worsening by the day. My spine is damaged due to faulty hip implant, hearing is impairing, eye sights is waning and have started suffering from urine incontinence and do not know how metal toxicity would wreak on my health in times to come. It also hurts to think that the company considers us inferior to American victims.’ He also echoes the sentiments of Mr Pillai and wants no nonsense and muscular PM Modi to come to their aid and teach the company a lesson or two.
Talking to Medicare News, Jyoti Rani Kona, 44, spoke of her woes, thanks to faulty hip and toxins that pervades her body and her deteriorating health. Despite revision surgery, she is crippled for life. She had to bury her desire for babies as doctors said no chance. She got the faulty implant in 2008. Jyoti suffered miscarriage years after the recall of the faulty device. It happened due to toxicity spewed into her blood streams from faulty implant. But she was unaware of it till 2016. She works in a jewellery shop with agonising aftermath.
Jyoti says, ‘I hope the government finally would come to our rescue. Physical disability is the only one of the serious problems I face. The mental agony that I go through is beyond bearing. True extent of our suffering and devastation our lives are being ignored by the company which is handing us peanuts.’
She further says, ‘We have received 25lakhs interim relief fund from J & J recently based on Delhi High Court order.
This is not the question of satisfaction instead of looking for fair justice. This is not a fair justice. Because, we are suffering and losing personal life, career, social life, physically, mentally, psychologically etc due to their medical negligence. Now, they are giving interim relief fund to those who had undergone revision surgery patients only. There are many patients across the country who are not yet traced and only some of the patients have to go for revision surgery. The company still needs to work out more on our issue.’
Indian victims are suffering from extremity of pain, immobility, metal toxicity in blood and reproductive complications, thanks to having Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants from J&J in their bodies. The implant was found to be leaking cobalt and chromium into patients’ bloodstream, and was recalled in 2010. The company had to foot the bill for revision surgeries. As many as 4,700 Indians are reported to have received faulty hip implants between 2004 and 2010, but only 1,080 have been traced so far.
The company is stubbornly refusing to pay compensation formulated by the government and pulling out all stops to scuttle the judicial process for justice. The company has refused yielding to the compensation package ranging between Rs 30 lakh and Rs1.23 crores formulated at the behest of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation. The package was based on a formula that took into account extent of harm and age. The company is arguing that the formula is ill founded.