Product News and Recalls

J&J executive knew of hip implant problems

Johnson & Johnson appointed Andrew Ekdahl to head its orthopaedics division in 2011, a year after the company recalled its ASR artificial hip joints following thousands of complaints that they caused debilitating injuries.

According to the New York Times, the company had billed Ekdahl’s appointment as a fresh start.

The Times reports that Ekdahl had supervised the device’s introduction in the United States, despite having been informed by a company consultant three years before the recall that it was faulty. He also held a senior marketing position at a time when the company opted not to tell foreign health regulators that American officials refused to allow sale of a version of the implant.

The Times says those details have emerged in the course of a trial taking place in Los Angeles Superior Court. It’s the first of about 10,000 such cases to go to trial concerning the implants, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics.

The DePuy model, featuring both a ball and a socket coated in a combination of chromium and cobalt, was originally marketed as a more durable alternative to standard models that incorporate plastic and ceramic.

While hip implants are supposed to last at least 15 years before needing replacement, studies have shown that nearly half of the all-metal variety break down and need replacement within six years, and as many as 10% fail within 2.5 years. The all-metal implants also have a tendency to shed toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

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.

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