UPDATE 1-J&J reaches $4 bln deal on hip implant lawsuits -report

Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:51pm EST

Nov 12 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson will pay more than $4 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits over its recalled defective hip implants, Bloomberg reported late on Tuesday, citing three people familiar with the deal.

Johnson & Johnson declined to comment on the report.

The deal will resolve more than 7,500 lawsuits brought against J&J's DePuy orthopedics unit in federal and state courts by patients who have already had the defective devices removed, the report said.

De Puy recalled thousands of its metal ASR hip systems due to higher-than-expected failure rates. Plaintiffs claim that defective metal-on-metal devices caused pain, discomfort and more serous complications, including increased levels of metal ions in the bloodstream.

The devices were introduced in the United States in 2005, and DePuy recalled the product in 2010 after selling an estimated 93,000 units worldwide. Data from the UK at the time showed that about 12 percent of the implants needed to be replaced after five years.

Metal implants were developed to be more durable than traditional hip implants, which combine a ceramic or metal ball with a plastic socket. All-metal implants can shed metallic debris, potentially damaging bone and soft tissue, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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