Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $120 million to attorneys general in 46 states, and Washington, D.C., to resolve marketing claims brought over its hip implants. Delaware is set to receive $1.3 million under the accord, with the money going to the state’s Consumer Protection Fund.
The settlement, announced on Tuesday, is the largest agreement that New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson has made with attorneys general over its ASR XL and Pinnacle Ultamet hip implants, made by its Medical Device Business Inc. division, formerly known as DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. In 2014, Johnson & Johnson paid $4 million to settle a case brought by the Oregon Department of Justice over its ASR hip implants.
Attorneys general alleged that Johnson & Johnson made misleading advertising claims about the “longevity” of its hip implants, which the National Joint Registry of England and Wales reported had higher failure rates. In some cases, patients had to have the devices surgically removed after suffering pain and finding metal in their blood.
Under the consent judgment, Johnson & Johnson agreed to base its claims on the latest scientific data and revise its complaint procedures.
The states of Texas and South Carolina led the investigation. In addition to those states, and Delaware, the agreement includes attorneys general from 43 other states, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.
“Accurate and up-to-date information for both doctors and patients is critical to effective health care,” said Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings in a statement. “This settlement helps ensure that doctors can continue making the most informed, medically appropriate decisions they can about patient care.”
Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Mindy Tinsley said the $120 million will be distributed among the states.
“The settlement involves no admission of liability or misconduct on the part of the companies,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “DePuy Synthes remains committed to meeting the current and future needs of orthopedic surgeons and patients.”
Johnson & Johnson paid $2.5 billion in 2013 to settle civil lawsuits filed over its ASR hip implants, which it recalled, and is settling thousands of cases brought over its Pinnacle devices after losing jury verdicts totaling more than $1.75 billion.
Tuesday’s agreement came on the same day that Johnson & Johnson announced its fourth quarter revenues of $20.4 billion and a sales forecast for 2019 that failed to meet expectations. During last quarter, litigation expenses doubled to $1.29 billion for Johnson & Johnson, which faces additional lawsuits over its baby powder and several pharmaceutical drugs.