As a division of Johnson & Johnson, DePuy specializes in designing and manufacturing medical devices, including its ASR and ASR XL artificial hip replacements. These devices use a metal-on-metal technology, which was initially marketed as more durable and stronger than previous devices. The company began selling its replacements overseas in 2003 and within the U.S. in 2005, following approval by the FDA. However, within just a few years, significant problems associated with the ASR and ASR XL surfaced, forcing the company to take them off the market in Australia in September 2009. Nearly a year later, they were recalled in the U.S., as well. By the time the devices were recalled around the world, more than 93,000 people had received one of the company’s replacements.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH DEPUY HIP REPLACEMENTS?
The ASR and ASR XL suffer from two major design flaws that can cause a number of severe health complications. For one, both replacements frequently slip out of place and affect bone growth as a result. Also, metal-on-metal wear results in regular depositing of metal particles and ions in surrounding soft tissues. These can result in an elevated level of chromium or cobalt, eventually causing a condition known as metallosis. Metallosis often produces debilitating pain, a rash and pseudotumors (masses that appear to be tumors, but are cysts of collected tissue). Bone fractures, infections, hip displacement and tissue necrosis are also signs that the implant may be failing.
In most cases, correcting these problems requires additional surgery to remove the hip replacement and set a safer technology in its place. According to the British Hip Society and the British Orthopedic Association, 49 percent of patients who received the ASR XL required a second surgery within six years of its placement to correct problems with the device. Within four years, 21 percent of people who received the ASR XL needed a revision surgery to address medical problems. Before the U.S. recall in August 2010, the manufacturer admitted that there was a higher than expected rate of revision surgeries associated with its hip replacements.
HAVE ANY LAWSUITS BEEN FILED AGAINST DEPUY FOR ITS ASR AND ASR XL HIP REPLACEMENTS?
Personal injury lawyers associated with hip replacement cases believe that between 7,000 and 8,000 lawsuits have been registered against the company for injuries caused by its hip replacements. On November 12, 2013, Johnson & Johnson tentatively agreed to settle with all active suits, a settlement that may reach up to $4 billion in value. The settlement would pay each victim about $350,000, though the number would vary depending on the victim’s age and health.
Patients who have filed suits against Johnson & Johnson have asserted that the company deceived medical professionals by downplaying the risks associated with the devices. During one patient lawsuit trial, documents originating from inside the company showed that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the ASR and ASR XL’s flawed design and high failure rate. These findings strongly suggest that the company was acting negligently in marketing and selling its hip replacement products.
Anyone who has received the ASR or ASR XL and suffered from serious side effects should consider speaking to a personal injury attorney at Terry Bryant’s firm. With their extensive experience in this area, Terry Bryant and his team may be able to help a victim get the compensation they deserve.