Symptoms or side effects of the DePuy ASR Hip include metal poisoning, tissue and bone damage, difficulty walking, and device failure, among others. We are currently working with some of the more experienced attorneys in the country who can file a hip replacement lawsuit on your behalf. And, there are no legal fees until you receive a settlement or award. Feel free to call our 24-hour phone line toll-free or submit a contact form online.
In 2005, the FDA approved the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement for sale on the market. DePuy Orthopaedics is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and it became the largest orthopedic company in the world when it merged with Synthes. It manufactures and markets joint replacements. In 2011, it earned $5.8 billion, an increase from the $5.5 billion it earned in 2010 (i). When the ASR Hip Replacement was first approved it was sold widely and earned the company huge profits. The implant has now become a source of liability for the company with a recall in 2010 and more than 8,000 lawsuits costing hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
The company placed two hip implants on the market the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Both systems used the dangerous metal on metal design. According to the Chicago Tribune, hip replacements should last at least 15 years, but the ASR device may fail at high rates within just a few years of implantation. Learn more about the lifespan of replacement joints. Patients who have been injured by this device should talk to a hip lawyer who handles medical device lawsuits.
Metal on Metal Hip Problems Linked to the ASR
It has been alleged that the ASR device is defectively designed because its metal components, the ball and cup, grind against each other creating metal debris and causing the device to fail prematurely. It is suspected that this faulty joint can cause the following complications:
- Infections following surgery
- High levels of metal ions, like cobalt or chromium, in the blood
- Cystic masses around the joint
- Damage to soft tissue and bone structure
- Squeaky joints and difficulty walking
- Loosening, fracture, or failure of the device
DePuy ASR Recall
On August 24, 2010, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson issued a global recall of the ASR Hip Replacement, including 29 models in cup sizes ranging from 44mm to 70mm. The companies projected the largest at-risk group was women who received a device that is 50mm or smaller in diameter. This announcement has had a dramatic effect on the company as 93,000 patients have received this device worldwide. The company claims on its website that the announcement was made because the device had a 13% revision rate after just 5 years. However, a recent report by Bloomberg suggested that the failure rate could be as high 49% after 6 years for some models.
The company states on its website that it will “address medical costs directly associated with the recall. DePuy will also cover recall-related patient out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pays, deductible expenses, lost wages and travel costs.” It has already spent $521 in 2011 and $280 million in 2010 for these patient claims (i). You should talk to a DePuy lawyer about your legal options because he or she can assess the actual money you are owed and work towards getting you a settlement or award.
Allegations that DePuy was Aware of the ASR’s History of Failure
The company has maintained that it was not fully aware of the dangers posed by its hip implant but recent news stories cast doubt on this claim. The New York Times uncovered a company e-mail from August 2009 in which the vice president of DePuy wrote that there had been “a significant number of revisions in the ASR group” and “very few in the control group.” This raised the concern that “given the revision rate in the ASR group that we will not be able to demonstrate non-inferiority.” This means that the company was unable to show that one of its ASR implants performed as well as traditional implants. The company had also received complaints about the design of its cup as early as 2005 according to another article titled, “Maker Hid Data About Design Flaw in Hip Implant, Records Show.”
Signs that the device may be defective surfaced shortly after it was released on the market and some medical experts have alleged that a recall should have been issued much sooner. As early as 2006, patients were reporting adverse events to the FDA. In 2007, a total of 87 DePuy ASR complications were reported and data from Australia’s National Joint Replacement Registry found that the device failed at a rate nearly double the industry standard (ii). In 2008, the FDA received 239 injury reports and the National Joint Registy of England and Wales found that the device had the highest failure rate of 7.5% among all hip implants after 3 years (iii). In 2009, the number of FDA reports rose dramatically to 424 and the implant was removed for the Australian market.
SEC Investigation of Illegal Marketing
In April 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated DePuy and Johnson & Johnson and alleged that the companies violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Specifically, the SEC claimed that the companies bribed doctors in throughout Europe and paid illegal kickbacks to Iraq. The companies agreed to pay a $70 million settlement but did not admit wrongdoing. A spokesperson for the SEC stated that “any competitive advantage gained through corruption is a mirage… J&J chose profit margins over compliance with the law” (iv).
Recent Hip Replacement Lawsuits
The number of Depuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits now totals over 10,000 and a few of them have already gone to trial. Many of these suits allege that the device was defectively designed and that the company failed to warn patients about its dangers. In December 2010, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) consolidated thousands of these suits in the United Stated District Court for the Northern District. As of July 2013, this MDL has had a total of 8,007 legal actions and 7,846 are still pending (v). Read the details of the MDL here.
In May 2012, the story of Terri Wagner-Morley was reported. She had received the ASR but barely one year after implantation it began to “pop.” She then suffered an infection which has prevented her from receiving another hip replacement. Later, in June 2012, a Pennsylvania man testified in front of an FDA panel about his experience with two ASR hips. In 2008, he received his first implant but soon felt “a loosening of the joints.” He then received another implant which offered no additional relief. He has stated that “by the end of the day I feel as bad, if not worse, as when I needed my first hip replacement.” Also, in July 2012, an Arizona woman filed a lawsuit after she suffered serious groin pain and instability.
In August 2012, Bloomberg reported that Johnson & Johnson paid about $600,000 to settle three of these hip lawsuits. The suits alleged that three women between the ages of 60 and 74 had to have their implants removed after experiencing painful side effects. Later, in January 2013, Ann McCracken’s DePuy ASR lawsuit was selected to go to trial. She had received the implant in 2009 but the pain associated with the device became “steady and intolerable” and it had to be removed. Most recently, in March 2013, the first DePuy hip lawsuit was decided by a jury. According to Bloomberg, jurors awarded Loren “Bill” Kransky, a retired prison guard, $8.3 million in damages. Read about the trial here.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Your DePuy ASR Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries related to your hip replacement, then you may want to talk with an attorney who can provide you with legal advice on this matter. Our law firm is working with experienced metal on metal hip implant lawyers who handle DePuy ASR lawsuits. There is no legal fee unless you receive a settlement or award for your injuries. Feel free to call 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online in confidence.
- (i) Johnson & Johnson 2011 Annual Report.
- (ii) Australian Orthopaedic Association, 2007 Annual Report.
- (iii) National Joint Registry for England and Wales, April 2008 – March 2009.
- (iv) Securities and Exchange Commission Press Release, April 7, 2011.
- (v) Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Docket, July 10, 2013.