What’s Going on with the Metal-on-Metal Hip Failure Rates

The numbers are appalling. The FDA has admitted that it has received more than 11,000 complaints about metal-on-metal artificial hip replacements in the first nine months of 2011. That’s more than the last 3 years combined. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that these types of hip replacements have a failure rate that is 3 times that of other types of hip replacements.
So, the real question is-why have the medical device companies marketed these new supposedly better hips when the old hips were working just fine? If you ask officials at the medical device companies, they’ll tell you that the metal-on-metal hips were designed for more active lifestyles and were supposed to last longer than the older ceramic hips. However, none of those claims were ever shown to be accurate. In fact, just the opposite is now closer to the truth.
So, what’s behind the marketing of these metal-on-metal failures? I suspect it comes down to marketing dollars and cents (notice, I didn’t say sense since there’s no sense to be made of this decision). In order to increase their market share, medical device companies who sell artificial hips have to grow their market share in order to increase their profit margins. They are always looking for what’s better, newer, more marketable. The interests of the patient aren’t part of that equation.
The medical device industry has to be forced to changed. There is just too much money to be gained and lost. The device companies won’t change unless they are forced to do it.