© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine, California

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) agreed to pay about $1 billion to resolve the bulk of lawsuits claiming the company sold defective metal-on-metal hip implants that ultimately had to be removed, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The agreement resolves over 95 percent of the 6,000 cases in which surgeons extracted the company’s Pinnacle implants because they left patients unable to walk and in pain, according to the report.

The $1 billion total includes an earlier settlement for more than $400 million and there are still about 4,500 pending suits by patients with artificial hips that were not made totally of metal or haven’t been surgically removed, Bloomberg added.

In February, Reuters reported J&J’s DePuy Orthopedics unit, which made the products, was in settlement talks to resolve most individual lawsuits alleging the company’s metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defective and caused severe injuries.

The implants were said to cause a build-up of metal ions in the blood, causing groin pain, allergic reactions, bone erosion and tissue death.

In 2013, DePuy ceased selling the metal-on-metal Pinnacle devices after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its artificial hip regulations. The Pinnacle system continues to be sold with other material combinations.

Texas-based plaintiff lawyer Mark Lanier, one of the main attorneys for the consumers, declined to comment.

Johnson & Johnson did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

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2019-05-07