DePuy: Latest News on Hip Replacement Recall

In August 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics – a division of the major pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson – issued a worldwide recall of the DePuy ASR Articular Surface Hip Replacement System and the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System following reports of a “higher than expected” failure rate. It is estimated that as many as 93,000 people have had one of these two systems implanted into them since they were introduced onto the market in 2003 – 3,516 of them in Ireland.

DePuy´s Offer to Reimburse Costs

Inasmuch as the prospect of revision surgery is not a pleasant one for any of the 3,516 potential hip replacement patients in Ireland, DePuy Orthopaedics has offered to pay for the cost of monitoring patients´ health, blood tests, X-rays and surgery as required. However, revision surgery is far more painful than the original hip replacement operation and a longer rehabilitation period is required. The impact on people´s lives is substantial, and this is why many thousands of people worldwide are seeking legal advice on the possibility of making a DePuy Hip Replacement Recall Compensation Claim.

Latest News on the Hip Replacement Recall

Potential victims have also been concerned with the lack of developments in the class actions already launched against the company. While DePuy hip replacement systems continue to claim more victims, the latest news on the hip replacement recall has be slow coming, but now there is some movement in the States which will be of interest to anybody considering a DePuy Hip Replacement Recall Compensation Claim.

The Litigation Case in America

In December 2010, the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all compensation claims against DePuy Orthopaedics into one Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) case. This was in order to reduce the need for pre-trial discovery on identical issues up and down the country and to prevent inconsistent pre-trial rulings in individual cases by different judges. This case was assigned to US District Judge David A. Katz to be heard in the Us District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo.

Latest News on the Hip Replacement Recall in America

In September, Judge Katz issued Case Management Orders which required each claimant´s solicitor to submit a Fact Sheet and Medical Records Authorisation Form on behalf of their clients who have already undergone revision surgery. This basic information will provide DePuy Orthopaedics with details of each claimant and their injuries, and DePuy Orthopaedics will have 120 days to present the judge with detailed information about each faulty hip replacement system and any communication which took place between themselves, the claimant and DePuy´s public liability insurers -Broadspire.

Judge Katz has also scheduled a status conference with the six-member executive prosecuting committee (which comprises of the lead solicitor from each of the six legal firms to have filed class action lawsuits to date) on November 22nd to report on the progress of the Case Management Orders.

Individual Assessments Still Required

Despite the submission of Fact Sheets and Medical Records Authorisation Forms, each individual claimant will still have to establish their own claims against DePuy, as damages will be awarded based on the DePuy hip replacement problems that the specific claimant experienced. These will include suffering due to the initial faults in the DePuy ASR hip replacements systems, the prolonged pain and inconvenience of revision surgery and the consequences thereafter when considerable time is required away from work and when a victim´s quality of life suffers as a result.

DePuy Hip Replacement Compensation Settlements

The case against DePuy Orthopaedics is yet to be proven in court, but precedents exist which experts believe will result in Johnson and Johnson paying billions of dollars in damages. Swiss hip and knee replacement company Sulzer AG were fined one billion dollars in 2001 for supplying a defective product which required revision surgery. The claims against DePuy Orthopaedics not only include the elements of revision surgery mentioned above, but also damages for toxic metal exposure, necrosis of the soft tissues surrounding the hip due to metal shavings from the hip replacement system and an increase risk (as yet unproven) of tumours and cancer.

In Other News about the Hip Replacement Recall

In other news about the hip replacement recall, the once “face of DePuy” – Penny Brown – has joined a UK class action against DePuy  Orthopaedics after learning that her DePuy ASR hip replacement system had failed. Penny, who used to promote the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems following her own implant in 2004, underwent painful revision surgery last month which has left her bed-ridden since. She feels that legal action is necessary as “I not only feel let down personally but also feel guilty that I might have encouraged others to have the ASR implanted.”

In Australia, the Blacktown Sun has reported that a resident of Glendinning, New South Wales, has been diagnosed with exceptionally high levels of cobalt toxicity in her blood due to a failing DePuy ASR hip replacement system. Although the victim is not keen to join the 350-strong class action already filed in Sydney, if the cobalt poisoning develops into metallosis she could require life-long care – something not provided for in the existing DePuy offer.

In the USA, four senators in the Energy and Commerce Department have called for an investigation into other metal-on-metal hip replacement devices – specifically the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system, which bypassed the Food and Drug Administration testing process in 2008 by showing that it was all but identical in design to the subsequently recalled DePuy ASR Articular Surface Hip Replacement System and the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System.

Keep up to date with the Latest News on Hip Replacement Recall

If you, or anybody close to you, have had a metal-on-metal hip replacement system implanted since 2003, it is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at your earliest possible opportunity.