January 28, 2013

Metal Hip Implant Company Knew About Sky High Failure Rate

by Levin & Perconti

Certain metal hip implants from DePuy Orthopedics (a Johnson & Johnson company) were recalled in 2010. However, before the recall tens of thousands of patients received the products, including many in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Many legal challenges were eventually filed which sought accountability for the thousands of patients who subsequently suffered injury as a result of the dangerous products being surgically implanted into their bodies.

The first of those cases are now making their way to trial. In the lead-up to the courtroom some documents are being released publicly which shed light on what the company knew about the risks of the implants and when they knew it.

Internal Hip Implant Investigation Documents
For example, the New York Times recently published an update on the situation, including details about internal Johnson & Johnson documents which demonstrate the significant scope of the defective hip problem.

It seems that at the same time that Johnson & Johnson officials were criticizing reports from outside experts on the dangers of certain implants, the company was conducting its own internal investigation to figure out the danger of the devices. What they found was shocking. It seems that the company’s own review revealed that as many at 40% of the now-recalled hips would fail within the first five years of implantation. Keep in mind that industry experts note that the typical hip implant has a failure rate of 1% in the first year and 5% within five years. In other words, the recalled DePuy implants are off-the-charts when it comes to failure rates.

More Injury to Come
One important implication of the internal investigation is that we can expect more patients to suffer ill-effects from these products in the years to come. The recall only occurred about two and a half years ago. That means that a large group of recipients may not have shown problems yet but will in the next two to three years. This is disturbing news, and a reminder that all patients who received hip implants need to be vigilant about any possible complications that might develop. Visiting with medical professional as soon as possible problems are identified is important.

Legal Developments
All told, nearly 100,000 patients may have received the recalled metal-on-metal implants. Tens of thousands of those patients have already filed suit because of various complications and injuries that they experienced. The law as it relates to mass-lawsuits of this nature is somewhat tricky. At times the cases are consolidated, and that has already happened in part for these matters. A few thousands cases have been combined in Ohio courts and more in California courts.

Some cases have already been settled by Johnson & Johnson, but the bulk of them are as of yet unresolved. The first case is set to go to trial soon. It is unclear if the legal matter will actually be resolved in the courtroom or if a settlement will be reached beforehand. If the trial does move forward, then we can expect a lot more damaging information about the company’s actions made public.

See Other Blog Posts:

Skirting Regulations with Metal on Metal Hips

Local Seniors Should be On Notice for Stryker Hip Recall