November 19, 2013 / 10:24 PM / 4 years ago

J&J unit to pay $2.5 billion in U.S. hip implant settlement

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A unit of Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay an estimated $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits from individuals allegedly injured by the company's artificial hip implants, the company announced Tuesday.

The settlement, announced during a hearing in federal court in Ohio on Tuesday, would compensate an estimated 8,000 patients who underwent surgery to replace their hip implants, according to a statement from Johnson & Johnson unit Depuy Orthopaedics Inc and lawyers for the plaintiffs.

The company was defending more than 12,000 lawsuits in state and federal court over injuries allegedly caused by its metal-on-metal ASR hip-replacement systems, according to a regulatory filing.

Depuy recalled the ASR hip system in 2010, after data suggested that it failed at a higher-than-expected rate. At the time, the company had sold about 93,000 systems worldwide.

The settlement would compensate plaintiffs who have undergone surgery to replace their hips as of August 31, 2013, the company said Tuesday. The company estimated that 8,000 plaintiffs would be eligible.

"The U.S. settlement program provides compensation for eligible patients without the delay and uncertainty of protracted litigation," said Andrew Ekdahl, president of Depuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction, in a statement.

The company said it will continue to defend itself in the remaining lawsuits not resolved by the agreement.

Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Bernard Orr

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