Johnson & Johnson Sued Over Hip-Replacement Devices Recalled in August

Johnson & Johnson  is likely facing many lawsuits as a result of defective hip-replacement devices that the drugmaker stopped selling last month after defect reports surfaced.

Officials of J&J and it’s subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics said they recalled the devices, known as the ASR XL Acetabular and the ASR Hip Resurfacing systems, after researchers found many patients needed “revision surgery” after five years because of design defects.

The resurfacing system substitutes a metal device for the ball of a human hip while the Acetabular version helps address pelvic problems.

Researchers in the U.K. found recently that after five years,  a significant percent of patients with complete hip replacements and resurfacing devices needed a second operation, known as a revision, J&J officials said in a  statement announcing the recall.

The lawsuits will likley allege that the body rejected the hip replacement because of a design flaw that allows metal to grind on metal within the mechanism. The toxic metal particles that were generated by the defective hip implant arguably cause the body to reject the hip implant, and not allow it to grow properly into the bone.

The lawsuits allege officials of J&J’s DePuy unit knew for years many of the 93,000 patients with ASR hip implants required corrective surgeries due to the mechanisms’ defects .It is alleged that J&J and DePuy have known for more than two years that the ASR Hip Implant Devices were failing early and causing harm in a high number of patients , and yet allowed them to continue to be implanted in patiants anyway.

The recall last week came just two days after U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials warned DePuy about selling two other hip-replacement systems for unapproved uses. DePuy generated more than $5.4 billion in sales last year, according to court filings.

Other medical-device makers have faced costly product- liability cases in the past over hip-replacement systems.

Sulzer AG agreed in 2001 to a $1 billion settlement of suits alleging hip and knee implants made by its former Sulzer Medica unit were defective. Sulzer, the world’s second-largest maker of pumps, is based in Switzerland.

For more information contact Paul Mitchell,Q.C., a Pushor Mitchell partner who has successfully litigated implant cases against J&J and DePuy in the past, at [email protected], or direct line 250-869-1115.

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