An editorial in the New York Times takes Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics to task for apparently sitting on evidence that a line of its hip implants posed a danger to patients.
“Though the company says the evidence will ultimately show that it acted appropriately, it clearly has a lot of explaining to do,” the editorial says.
The model in question is called the Articular Surface Replacement, or ASR, implant. It’s a type of implant that features both a ball and a socket coated in a combination of cobalt and chromium. “Metal-on-metal” implants in general went on the market without adequate testing because of loopholes in Food and Drug Administration regulations.
The editorial describes the ASR model as the most “failure prone” of the metal-on-metal implants. Although the devices were recalled in 2010, documents released in court show that a number of surgeons – including the company’s own consultants – warned Depuy that they appeared to be flawed.
Studies have indicated that nearly half of the devices break down and need replacement within six years, as opposed to the minimum of 15 years that hip replacements are supposed to last. They also have a tendency to shed toxic metal particles that get in patients’ bloodstream and soft tissues.
The editorial states: “Thousands of patients have had to replace them in painful operations; hundreds more have suffered internal damage.”
The company never informed doctors implanting the devices about the concerns that surgeons were raising, the report says. And by the time of the 2010 recall, they had been implanted in about 93,000 patients around the world.
You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns from a DePuy hip implant. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
See the editorial here: