Product News and Recalls

Lawyer says company endangered patients

In closing arguments for a trial involving Johnson & Johnson’s all-metal hip implant, a lawyer representing a 65-year-old former prison guard who claims he contracted metal poisoning from the device said the company put profits ahead of patient safety.

The case, which is being heard in Los Angeles, is the first of nearly 11,000 lawsuits about the Johnson & Johnson ASR hip implant to go to trial. The plaintiff is asking for compensatory damages of $5.3 million and punitive damages of as much as $179 million, Bloomberg reports.

The implants, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedic division, were recalled in 2010 because of their alleged design defects. They were reportedly prone to shedding toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies. A number of studies also indicated that nearly half of them needed replacement after only a few years.

In the course of the trial, lawyers for the plaintiff presented documents suggesting that the company knew about the problems for years before the recall, yet continued to market the devices.

The ASR devices have both a ball and a cup coated in a combination of cobalt and chromium, and were marketed as more durable than models incorporating plastic and ceramic. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits claim that the two components rubbed against each other to produce the toxic debris.

The plaintiff’s lawyer in the Los Angeles case presented records showing the metals level in his client’s blood was eight times higher than the level DePuy considered acceptable.

According to the story, the lawyer described the ASR hip implant as a “public health disaster.”

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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