Pharmaceutical

DePuy accused of using deceptive tactics for hip recall defense

People suffering from pain and disability from faulty hip replacement devices made by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, are urged not to share information with DePuy, Johnson & Johnson, or allow a physician to release medical records to a third party company as that information may be used against a plaintiff as evidence in court.

At the end of August, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson announced they were recalling parts used for hip replacements because of the high rate of repeat surgeries needed by people who had received the implants. An estimated 93 million people are affected by the recall, which involves the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The systems have a five-year failure rate of 12 percent and 13 percent, respectively, much higher than expected.

Problems associated with the implants include pain, swelling and problems walking. While these symptoms are typical for patients following a hip replacement, if they persist they may indicate a serious problem such as loosening of the implant, fracturing of the bone around the implant, or dislocation between the two parts of the implant that move against each other.

Some who have received the defective hip replacement systems and have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer say they believe DePuy Orthopaedics may be encouraging doctors to breach patient-doctor confidentiality protocols through deceptive tactics. For example, plaintiffs say that DePuy is offering doctors $50 for each medical information packet they deliver to the company related to the case. Those packets include a section outlining tactics on how doctors can persuade patients to sign over private medical records.