Product News and Recalls

Document contradicts DePuy president’s claims

Andrew Ekdahl, president of Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics division, has testified that the company recalled its ASR hip implants because they weren’t meeting “clinical expectations,” and not because the company believed they had an underlying design defect.

But lawyers in a Chicago trial over injuries allegedly caused by the devices have produced a document that appears to contradict Ekdahl’s statement.

A Bloomberg story references a document from the Health Hazard/Risk Evaluation Review Board that top company officials signed days before the 2010 recall. Of three listed possible explanations for the recall, DePuy checked Class A for “defective product that would affect product performance and/or could cause health problems.”

The plaintiff in the Chicago lawsuit received one of the implants in 2008, and needed to have it replaced three years later. Hip replacement surgery is a costly, involved and painful operation, and implants are supposed to last at least 15 years.

This is the second of more than 10,000 such lawsuits to go to trial. A jury recently awarded a plaintiff with similar complaints $8.3 million.

Johnson & Johnson claims the recall came in response to findings that 13 percent of the ASR implants failed within five years in the U.K. Subsequent studies concluded that nearly half of the implants broke down and needed replacement within six years.

One common reported problem involves the devices shedding toxic metal debris in patients’ bodies.

A lawyer in the Chicago case told the jury that before the hip replacement was implanted, “DePuy knew that the design flaws in this defective device could cause it to shed those particles into patients, causing tissue death, causing high blood metal ion levels and the need for the serious and unnecessary second surgery.”

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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