Product News and Recalls

DePuy marketers worried about profits, not patients

In 2007, marketing executives with Johnson & Johson’s DePuy Orthopaedics division discussed their concerns about the company’s ASR artificial hip implants leaving ions from toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

But according to an article in Bloomberg, their concerns didn’t appear to center on the danger for those patients, so much as how the situation might affect sales.

In fact, it would be another three years before the company recalled the implants because of their tendency to shed metal shavings, and to break down and need replacement after only a few years.

Documents released in a Los Angeles trial over the implants – the first of more than 10,000 lawsuits filed by people that the devices have injured – show that the company was also aware of the high failure rate in 2007.

The Bloomberg story says DePuy marketing executive Randall Kilburn testified about a Chicago meeting in July, 2007. Members of the marketing team discussed several hip devices, and viewed a PowerPoint presentation titled: “What scares us the most in the year ahead?”

The presentation listed nine items, the first of which was “Metal ion backlash.” Other items on the list included industry consolidation, price pressure and Japan.

The report says jurors watched a video of a 2008 sales meeting in New Orleans, at which Kilburn announced that the ASR hip division had increased sales in 2007 by $62 million over the previous year. At one point he said to the audience: “Game on!”

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: