Correspondent (Delhi) Nearly 40 victims and family members of MNC Johnson & Johnson’s ASR hip implants met with the Central Expert Committee in New Delhi today to place their concerns before the committee. The patients are members of the Hip Implant Patients Support Group (HIPS) and travelled at their own cost and effort from across the country to meet with the committee. The meeting has come after months and months of letters and demands by HIPS that the government meet them and understand the full extent of the damage done by the ASR hip implants.
“We are glad that the government and the Central Expert Committee finally called us for this meeting though the limited duration of the meeting meant we could place our concerns and cases before the committee only in a limited way. Still we hope this is only the first meeting with the government and that even in this short time they were able to see the true extent of suffering and devastation of our lives caused by J&J’s ASR hip implants,” said Renu Seth of Delhi.
In August 2018, the report of the Agarwal Committee set up by the government was released which recommended compensation for ASR hip implant victims. Subsequently, a Central Expert Committee headed by Dr. R.K. Arya was convened in October 2018 to start the compensation process. The compensation formula recently approved by the government was met with serious concerns from patients as it had many deficiencies, exclusions and lacunae. The patients placed shared their views regarding the compensation formula, the process and related issues at this much delayed meeting with the Central Expert Committee.
“For my husband and me it came as a great shock when our doctors told us to stop planning a family due to the levels of cobalt and chromium in my body and the negative impacts that could have on pregnancy and on any baby we would conceive,” said Jyoti Rani of Vishakhapatnam who suffered a miscarriage years after the recall of the device and was unaware of toxicity associated with the implant until 2016. “I hope the government and the Central Expert Committee realizes that physical disability is only one of the serious problems faced by us; the impact on our families and our personal lives, the mental agony that we have suffered must be recognized,” she added.
“We are encouraged by the opportunity to interact with the Committee members to explain the range of our suffering because of the hip implants, the aggravation of pain and misery caused by unjustifiably delayed medical attention and other negative impacts on our lives,” said Abhishek Bamba who suffers from severe complications from bilateral ASR hip implants.
“We highlighted a range of concerns regarding the inadequacies of the formula and put forth our views so that the Committee can get the benefit of patients’ perspective and experiences while reviewing the formula ,” added Gaurav Kocchar of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
“Some of our members also detailed the difficulty in getting disability certificates and asked why as victims of this disastrous medical device we are now being asked to run from pillar to post to get our rightful compensation.” added Rohit Garg, brother of Rahul Garg who was affected by the ASR hip implant.
“I am very pleased that I managed to travel to Delhi for this meeting. Even though it added an additional financial burden on me and my family, it was important not just to make sure the government sees the actual human suffering caused by J&J but also to meet so many other hip implant victims face-to-face and realized that I am not alone in this battle,” said Manoj Kumar Sangabattula who was the youngest recipient of an ASR implant in the group when he was 20 years.