Did DePuy Know of the Problems Its ASR Hip Replacements Have?

When DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson division, ordered a worldwide recall two of its DePuy hip replacements, the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, it already knew of data showing their higher than expected failure rate. Specifically, according to a March 2010 New York Times article, DePuy was already aware of problems with its hip replacements five months before the recall. In Australia, where the hip replacements were more widely sold than in the United States, the adverse data had been accumulating for quite some time. Dr. Stephen Graves, a director of an implant database, stated that DePuy’s plan to phase out these products by the end of 2010 was already too late. Long before its August 2010 worldwide recall, DePuy had already withdrawn the ASR hip replacement devices from the Australian market.

As for the United States, starting in 2008, the FDA received 300 complaints regarding the ASR hip replacements. DePuy’s ASR “cup,” sold as a separate component, did not go through clinical trials for approval. When problems surfaced, the company originally claimed the surgeons weren’t installing their products properly. Then DePuy started sending letters to doctors informing them that its ASR devices would be less effective for women, persons of short stature, and those with weak bones. Clearly, DePuy acted too slowly once it found its products were defective.

A bad metal-on-metal hip replacement such as DePuy’s can cause metal ions to scrape off the components. These ions then spread to the surrounding tissues and the bloodstream, causing significant pain and damage. Typically, a hip replacement is supposed to last for 15 years, but many of DePuy’s hip replacements have been found to fail after only 5 years. If a recipient’s hip replacement has failed, he or she must undergo a second, difficult “revision” procedure, which can be very expensive.

DePuy’s recall has come too late, and many people are already affected. If you have a DePuy hip replacement and believe you are affected by the recall, you should seriously consider filing a lawsuit against the company to recover your losses. More information is available when you visit the hip replacement recall website.