Defective Artificial Hips - Consumer Justice Foundation

Defective Artificial Hips

Written by Faith Anderson on February 1, 2013
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DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recalled Worldwide

As appalling information about DePuy’s alleged negligence involving its hip implants comes to light, powerful figures in the British government are recommending that a criminal inquiry be launched involving the manufacture and marketing of the toxic medical devices. The disclosure over the British surgeon’s warning came in a court case in the U.S. that is considering whether affected patients should be compensated for the faulty implants. Before DePuy’s ASR metal-on-metal implant was recalled in August 2010 (a number of years after the initial warnings were made), the defective device had been implanted in 37,000 patients worldwide. In Britain, more than 10,000 patients have been fitted with metal-on-metal implants, which are suspected of wearing down and shedding potentially toxic metal particles into the bloodstream.

Dangers of Defective Medical Devices

Concerns about the safety of all-metal hip implants raise renewed questions for health regulators in Britain, since last year, European regulators were accused of putting the health of British patients at risk by licensing potentially dangerous medical implants, including metal-on-metal hip devices manufactured to the same specifications as the Johnson & Johnson product. In the United States, the FDA’s 510(k) approval process allows the agency to “fast-track” medical devices that are shown to be substantially equivalent to products already on the market. Unfortunately, this system allows potentially dangerous medical devices, like defective hip implants, to enter the market for consumer use without undergoing adequate testing.

The DePuy ASR hip implant was introduced in Britain in 2003, and recently revealed documents allege that, as early as 2006, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. David Beverland was reporting problems to DePuy. After notifying the company of similar problems among patients in 2006, the following year, Dr. Beverland told the medical device maker that he would no longer be using its hip implants. In June 2007, DePuy’s own figures showed that the ASR hip implant scored a “survival rate” of 89.9% after two and a half years. Compared to other artificial hip models, a 10% failure rate is relatively high, and this number has recently been shown to be much higher that originally thought.

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Legal Help

Emails exchanged among DePuy executives in recent years show that the company was likely aware of problems with its implant (an internal memo reveals “The overall rate of complaints is eight times higher for the ASR versus the Pinnacle,” another all-metal implant) but chose to keep this information from the public. “If a company would knowingly do this then where does the buck stop,” asked Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston and chair of the Science and Technology Committee. “I think it’s a question of a criminal inquiry rather than a civil one.” If you have experienced a major side effect that you believe to be caused by the recalled ASR hip implant or another potentially defective medical device, don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights. Our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured consumers, and we can help put you in touch with a qualified lawyer in your area with experience handling product liability cases.

Posted Under: Hip Implants, International
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