By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Johnson and Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics announced on May 16, 2013, that the company is phasing out all of its metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-metal hip replacements. As of August 31, 2013, these DePuy products will no longer be available worldwide. Click here to read the press release from DePuy Orthopaedics.
This decision comes after DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR XL hip implants in August 2010. The recall was due to a high failure rate in the metal-on-metal hip implants. Click here to read the press release on the recall from DePuy.
Why DePuy is Ending Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Sales.
In the press release, DePuy named two main reasons why the company is discontinuing metal-on-metal and metal-on-ceramic hip implants.
The decision was partly based on a decline in the use of the once widely used metal-on-metal hip implants. According to Bloomberg News, it’s estimated that metal-on-metal hip implant sales in the U.S. and Europe went from twenty percent (20%) of the market in 2007, to less than two percent (2%) in 2012. The parts in metal in metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-metal hip implants have been known to rub against each other as patients move, causing metal ions to enter the body’s bloodstream, including chromium and cobalt. It is alleged this can cause metal poisoning and tissue damage. According to Bloomberg News, physicians and orthopedic surgeons are using other types of hip implants thought to be safer, such as ceramic-on-ceramic or advanced plastics such as cross-linked polyethylene. I previously wrote a blog on one Florida orthopedic clinic that is warning patients that not all hip implants are the same. To read that blog, click here.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also looking into the safety of hip replacement products. In January 2013, the FDA announced it wants hip implant products that were previously approved for sale but did not do clinical testing in patients to run these studies to be able to continue selling these products.
Click here to read the entire Bloomberg News article.
This is Not Another Recall.
In the press release, DePuy emphasized this decision is not another product recall and was not based on the 2010 recall of the ASR XL hip implants.
However, because of that recall, DePuy is facing more than 10,700 lawsuits. These cases are from patients who claim their hip implant was defective. So far, there have been two cases against DePuy to go to trial. Click here to see the outcome of the first case, and click here to see the outcome of the second case.
Stryker Orthopaedics Lawsuits Similar to Those Against DePuy.
In July 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics also issued a voluntary recall of the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck femoral hip systems. (Click here to see the press release from Stryker.) As of February 2013, more than 80 lawsuits have been consolidated into multicounty litigation (MCL) in the Superior Court in New Jersey against Stryker. Patients claim the company’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck femoral hip systems are defective. Additional action to move these cases into federal court for multi-district litigation (MDL) is expected.
Broadspire is Not Looking Out for the Patient’s Interest.
Stryker and DePuy are looking to settle claims with the victims from these two recalls. In most cases, patients will hear from Broadspire directly. It’s important to understand that Broadspire is working in the best interest of Stryker and DePuy. If you’ve been contacted by Broadspire to settle your claim, contact an experienced attorney first.
Other Orthopedic Implant Products to Watch Out For.
We’ve also learned of a number of other manufacturers that are producing orthopedic implant products accused of being defective. These products include the Biomet metal-on-metal hip implant, the Wright hip implant, the Zimmer Durom Cup and the Zimmer NexGen Knee.
If you received any of these products and have experienced pain, swelling, high levels of metal in your bloodstream, a corrective revision surgery or other complications, we may be able to help you obtain compensation.
Lawsuits Against Manufacturers of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants: Things You Need to Know as an Implant Recipient.
Our firm has recently undertaken plaintiffs’ products liability cases against the manufacturers of defective hip implants, including both the DePuy and the Stryker hip implants. We are able to combine our knowledge of the health care industry with our litigation experience for the benefit of our clients. In a blog series, we shared the top things all metal-on-metal hip implant patients need to know about their medical and legal options. Click here to read part one, here for part two, and click here for part three.
Contact an Attorney Experienced in Products Liability Litigation.
Although The Health Law Firm represents predominantly physicians and other health care providers, we are involved in products liability litigation. At the request of our clients, we have agreed to take on and prosecute a number of hip implant cases against their manufacturers for the patients. We currently are representing several plaintiff patients with DePuy hip implants and several plaintiff patients with Stryker hip implants.
We are able to combine our knowledge of the health care industry with our litigation experience for the benefit of patients. If you received a DePuy, Stryker or any metal hip replacement and have experienced pain, swelling, high levels of metal in your blood, a corrective revision surgery, or other complications, we may be able to help you. To learn more about your legal rights, contact The Health Law Firm for a consultation today.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
What do you think of DePuy’s decision to phase out metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-metal hip implants? Do you think other metal-on-metal hip manufacturers will do the same thing? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Fay Cortez, Michelle. “Johnson & Johnson Ending Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Sales.” Bloomberg Businessweek. (May 17, 2013). From: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-16/j-j-will-stop-sales-of-metal-on-metal-hip-replacements.html
Meier, Barry. “J&J Until Phasing Out All-Metal Hip Devices.” The New York Times. (May 16, 2013). From: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/business/jj-is-phasing-out-metal-replacement-hips.html?_r=0
DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. “DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Statement on Discontinuation of ULTAMET® Metal-on-Metal and COMPLETE™ Ceramic-on-Metal Hip Systems.” DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (May 16, 2013). From: http://www.depuy.com/about-depuy/news-and-press/detail?tid=&year=&page=0
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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