Product News and Recalls

50,000 U.K. patients need yearly testing from hip implant

About 50,000 hip replacement patients in England and Wales will require annual medical tests to ensure that their metal-on-metal hip implants aren’t causing them potentially crippling complications, British newspaper The Independent reports.

That reflects the number of patients with large hip implants who will need annual blood tests to check their metal ion levels, including about 10,000 people with implants manufactured by DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

The risk with the metal-on-metal implants – which use a metal coating for both the ball and the socket of the joint – is that metal ions will break off as the device wears and get into the blood. That can potentially cause long-term disability.

See the report here:

A number of alarming news items concerning metal-on-metal implants have come out of the U.K. recently.

The medical journal BMJ (formerly called the “British Medical Journal”) last week reported that hundreds of thousands of patients around the world may have been exposed to toxic substances after receiving metal-on-metal implants. What’s more, DePuy continued to market the devices despite an internal memo from 2005 making it clear that the company was aware of the risks.

Also last week, the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency recommended that people who received the hip implants in question get monitored every year for as long as they have the devices, because of the health concerns. Previously, the agency recommended that the monitoring take place for five years after hip replacement.

This week, a professional group of U.K. surgeons called the The British Hip Society issued a recommendation that the use of metal-on-metal hip implants be discontinued because of their high early failure rate.

In the United States, DePuy delayed in issuing a recall until August, 2010, despite hundreds of complaints of early failure. Physicians are being told to refer their patients to DePuy’s claims settlement company, Broadspire, but these “settlements” do not cover all potential damages or future injuries that might arise. You may be unknowingly signing your rights away by agreeing to settle for past medical expenses only.

Contact Lopez McHugh for a free case evaluation if you received a DePuy Orthopaedics hip implant and are experiencing side-effects.