Product News and Recalls

J&J settles 3 metal hip lawsuits for $600,000

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay about $600,000 to resolve three cases in the first settlements of lawsuits related to the company’s all-metal hip implants, Bloomberg reports.

The report, which cites unnamed sources, says officials with Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit recently agreed to settle Nevada residents’ suits over the devices, which were recalled in 2010.

The hip implants in question have both a ball and a socket coated in a chromium and cobalt alloy. They were originally marketed as a more durable alternative to ceramic and plastic models.

The company now faces about 8,000 lawsuits in federal and state courts from patients in pain and immobilized by joint dislocations, infections and bone fractures. Plaintiffs also claim metal debris from the hips causes tissue death around the joint and may increase metal ions in the bloodstream to harmful levels.

Johnson & Johnson recalled 93,000 of the implants in 2010, including 37,000 in the U.S., saying more than 12 percent of them failed within five years. A study released last March by the British Orthopaedic Association and the British Hip Society indicated that 49 percent of metal-on-metal hip devices fail after six years.

Bloomberg quotes Eric Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan, as saying that it may cost Johnson & Johnson as much as $2 billion to resolve all litigation over the implants.

The first three settlements involve cases filed in Nevada state court in Las Vegas. All three plaintiffs had hip replacements done by the same surgeon over the past six years. And all three later had the artificial hips removed after experiencing pain and other side effects, including bone damage and health problems associated with the metal debris.

If you’ve received an all-metal hip implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip lawyer familiar with the case to discuss your legal rights.

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