Product News and Recalls

Hip case exposes unethical doctor conduct

An opinion piece in the New York Times explores an issue that emerged in the course of a trial over DePuy Orthopaedics’ ASR hip implants – doctors who remain silent over harmful medical devices or drugs.

Although experts say doctors have an ethical responsibility to speak out in such cases, they often fail to warn their colleagues, the New York Times reports.

In the case of DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, a number of doctors who served as consultants to the company warned executives of an inherently flawed design that could prove dangerous. Yet despite having received those warnings years before the implants were eventually recalled in 2010, the company continued to market them.

True to the doctors’ predictions, the all-metal hips generated thousands of reported injuries. A number of studies indicate that more than half of the implants break down and need replacement after only a few years. They also have a tendency to shed toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

The case of a retired Montana prison guard who says the hip ASR device caused metal poisoning is currently being heard in Los Angeles. It’s the first of the 10,000 lawsuits for that model of implant to go to trial.

Before the ASR implant was recalled, the story says, British physician Dr. Antoni Nargol and a colleague tried to make surgeons aware of the problem.

“But the silence of other doctors apparently gave company executives the upper hand,” the story says. “In meetings with Dr. Nargol, they said that he seemed to be the only doctor having trouble,” even though they apparently had received other reports of issues.

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 story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/sunday-review/the-hip-replacement-case-shows-why-doctors-often-remain-silent.html