Medical device maker Stryker Corp. says it expects to pay up to $1.1 billion to settle personal injury lawsuits stemming from a 2012 recall of two of the company’s metal hip implants. The amount is more than twice what the company previously estimated it would have to pay to resolve the lawsuits.
In July 2012, Stryker recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems because of concerns that the devices could fret or corrode inside the body, which could damage surrounding tissue and cause pain and inflammation. Last July the company in a securities filing said it estimated the costs to be $400 million to $660 million, but updated those numbers last month to $700 million to $1.1 billion.
The money will not only cover litigation costs, but will also be used to compensate patients for “reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment services, including any necessary revision surgeries.”
Stryker isn’t the only medical device manufacturer to face billions of dollars in litigation costs and payouts because of metal-on-metal hip implants. In 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, recalled its ASR all-metal device after a surprisingly high number of reports of premature failures.
An alarming medical condition that arose from the defective devices involved a type of blood poisoning called metallosis, caused by metal ions from the devices leeching into the bloodstream. Short-term effects of the condition have caused patients to experience headaches, fatigue and other problems. The long-term effects, however, are still unknown. Some studies suggest that metallosis can damage DNA, which could lead to serious health complications including cancer.
Source: Law 360