A group of patients who received faulty hip implants from Johnson & Johnson on Thursday informed the government that its formula for determining compensation due to them was done “without due consultations” with stakeholders, PTI reported.
The patients’ letter came a week after the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare approved compensations between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 1.23 crore for such patients on the recommendations of an expert committee.
At least 70 affected patients have united as part of the “Hip Implant Patients Support Group” and written the letter to Union Health Minister JP Nadda. The group also comprises their family members and public health specialists advocating for regulatory reforms to improve patient safety.
The patients claimed that the formula devised by the ministry has “multiple gaps” and is “riddled with ambiguities”. They urged the government to hear their views in order to arrive at a “just and fair” formula.
“We respectfully submit that we cannot accept a formula that was devised through discussions exclusively with Johnson and Johnson, and without a consultative process with all the stakeholders, as has been incorrectly represented in the media,” Vijay Vojhala, one of the affected patients, said in the letter.
“The formula, therefore, has multiple gaps that may have easily been avoided if the process of consultation with victims and civil society groups was done,” said Vojhala. “The formula unjustly denies compensation to many patients.”
The patients in October had decided not to pursue their claims for compensation, questioning the credibility of the panel the government had appointed last year to fix compensation. The patients had also sought Nadda’s intervention, writing to him on October 15 and October 20, and had questioned Johnson & Johnson’s involvement in the process.
In the latest letter, the patients claimed that they were being completely sidelined despite their appeals to maintain transparency in the proceedings of the committees tasked with figuring out the compensation amount. They asked if the formula takes into account the particulars of patients’ circumstances, like cases of multiple faulty implants and medical histories.
“Its poor formulation renders it incomplete and riddled with ambiguities,” they said. “Any process relying on this formula will not be able to deliver just and fair compensation to patients and their families, defeating the purpose of the exercise.”
The Supreme Court on December 3 had granted the expert committee a week’s time to file its response in the case.