January 24, 2013 — According to expert witness testimony and documents that were unsealed in California state court last week, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary company DePuy Orthopedics knew that there were problems with the metal-on-metal ASR hip implant in 2008. Officials at the company received clinical data that associated with ASR with “extreme” increased levels of metal ions in a patient’s bloodstream. However, the company did not issue a recall of the ASR until 2010. By that time, the ASR was implanted in about 37,000 Americans and 93,000 people worldwide.
High levels of metal ions are a symptom that an all-metal hip implant is failing, which is why the FDA recommends that patients who are having problems with an all-metal hip implant should get a blood test. Despite the potentially “extreme” levels of metal in ASR patients, DePuy did not immediately recall the ASR. According to the testimony of one DePuy official who reviewed the clinical data:
“I believe it means that we need to start any ASR upgrade sooner than our previous plans had suggested.”
The testimony was revealed last week as part of the first ASR hip implant lawsuit to go to trial. The plaintiff, Loren Kransky, was injured by the ASR and currently has cancer. His lawsuit, and approximately 2,000 more, are centralized in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County. More than 7,000 additional lawsuits are centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, where trials are set to begin in May and July 2013.
Many are concerned about the growing evidence linking metal-on-metal hip implants to higher levels of failure than plastic or ceramic designs, with little or no additional benefit. According to an internal analysis from 2011, DePuy estimated that 37% of the all-metal ASR implants would fail within five years. Although this analysis was never shared publicly, according to the New York Times, DePuy was simultaneously downplaying similar failure-rates found by a British joint registry.
The problem with metal-no-metal hip implants (as opposed to plastic and ceramic designs) is that the metal parts can grind together and shed toxic nano-particles of chromium and cobalt into a patient’s tissues and bloodstream. This complication has been linked to soft tissue damage, bone death, chronic pain, decreased mobility, metallosis (metal poisoning), failure of the hip implant, and the need for revision surgery.
Do I have a Defective Hip Implant Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective hip implant induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by hip implant side effects, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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