Near the end of October, we reported on the likelihood that DePuy employees and officials knew of the potential and real defects in the company’s ASR hip replacement systems. Even after the company removed the product from the Australian market, it continued selling them in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.
Long after doctors and patients had discovered a nearly 1-in-8 failure rate within the first 5 years of receiving the hip replacement implants, DePuy kept selling them. Finally, in August of 2010, the company removed the products from worldwide and American markets. At that point more than 93,000 people around the world had received the implants.
What is known for certain is that DePuy and the FDA had received numerous reports of defects and high rates of device failure in the ASR hip system over the years from 2003 through 2010, when the device was finally recalled. Why, then, did DePuy continue to allow the hip replacements to be sold and implanted into consumers who were not warned of the higher rate of failure?
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson will have to answer that question in court. Many patients have filed lawsuits against DePuy alleging that the company did nothing to warn consumers of the high rate of failure. The hip recall lawsuits are expected to reach into the tens of thousands before a settlement is reached. Out of the 93,000 people who received the implants, as many as 12,000 or more may require a revision surgery.
Not only does the device fail mechanically, but the metal on metal design can lead to a toxic condition called metallosis in which cobalt and chromium are released in small amounts into the bloodstream. Metallosis can cause a host of other symptoms that may seem unrelated to the hip replacement device. Patients with the device implanted are encouraged to seek qualified legal representation whether or not they have experienced any symptoms of device defect or failure.
Dimova, Marina. (November 7, 2010) “DePuy Hip Implant Recall Initiates Another Lawsuit.” Retrieved on November 8, 2010 from Visit Bulgaria.
Massey, Michelle. (October 12, 2010) “Lawsuit alleges Depuy hip replacement device is defective.” Retrieved on November 5, 2010 from the Louisiana Record.
Newsome Law Firm Staff Writer. (October 29, 2010) “Hip Recall Lawsuits Claim DePuy Knew of Defects.” Retrieved on November 5, 2010 from the Newsome Law Firm.