DePuy Hip Recall Lawsuit

DePuy hip lawsuits will be likely as a result of defects in the Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR XL Hip Replacement System. They are expected to result in hundreds of additional surgeries to replace the hip implants in the U.S. The DePuy worldwide recall announced last week involved 93,000 of two types of hip implants. One of the recalled Hip implant devices is the the DePuy ASR XL acetabular system and the other recalled hip implant is the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System.
Of the 93,000 recalled hips worldwide 37,834 were sold in the U.S Only one of the recalled hip implant devices was approved for sale in the U.S. and that is the ASR XL acetabular system. The DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System was not approved for sale in the U.S. So in analyzing the U.S. recall and the consequences, we only need to consider the ASR XL acetabular system. The worldwide recall is based upon failure rates reported in the United Kingdom. Since we do not yet have a nationwide medical device registry in the United States we have to rely on data from countries such as the United Kingdom that have better systems of tracking failures of medical devices than we do in the United States. DePuy is claiming that they did not realize that their hip implants were failing until recently. What DePuy knew and when they knew it will probably be the subject of lawsuits that are beginning to be filed.
The New York Times ran a story on March 3, 2010 raising questions about problems with metal on metal hip implants such as the DePuy ASR systems. On March 6, 2010, DePuy sent a warning letter to doctors in the U.S. advising them of high failure rates in Australia. On March 9, 2010 the New York Times ran an article raising concerns about the ASR hip implants.
The DePuy ASR XL Hip Implant Systems were first sold in the U.S. in 2006. Since 2008 there have been more than 400 adverse events reported to the FDA. The ASR implants are metal on metal which means that there is a metal ball in a metal socket. DePuy is not disclosing why they think the devices are failing but it is likely to be related to metal debris being generated from the metal on metal wear especially if the cup is not properly aligned in the socket. Some surgeons have suggested that the shallow cup used in the ASR may be more difficult to install with a proper alignment causing the excessive wear between the metal parts.
This metal debris or a loose cup can cause pain, swelling, inflamation, and problems walking. The debris can also cause an allergic reaction to the metal debris in the person’s hip. Many of the patients with these symptoms will have to have another surgery called a revision surgery to have a new hip implant installed. As hip implant patients know, hip implant surgery is major surgery with many risks and a difficult recovery period. Patients who had implants after DePuy had knowledge that they were having a problem with these devices will certainly have a legitimate complaint against the company.