A doctor working as a consultant for Johnson & Johnson warned company executives in 2008 that the ASR hip replacement system made by J&J subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics was poorly designed and suggested the company slow its marketing of the device until it discovered why the hip implant was hurting so many patients. The warning fell on deaf ears.
It wasn’t until two years later, after several other doctor-consultants for the company pressed the issue with J&J that the consumer health care products giant issued a recall of the ASR artificial hip. In that time, literally thousands of patients worldwide underwent invasive surgeries to have the defective hip implant placed in their bodies.
The ignored warnings are just beginning to come to light during the first of more than 10,000 patient lawsuits brought against J&J over the defective device. The company claims they acted responsibly in determining the right time to recall the device. But plaintiff’s lawyers say executives were more concerned about protecting profits than protecting the health of patients.
The DePuy ASR hip replacement system was recalled because it was failing at a higher than expected rate.
Unlike traditional hip implants that are made with ceramic or plastic parts, the ASR is made with all metal parts that when rubbed together through typical use can cause bits of tiny metal to flake off. Those metal bits can damage surrounding tissue and lead to premature loosening, dislocating or fracturing of the implant. Metal ions can also leech into the bloodstream, causing a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.
Source: NY Times