Pharmaceutical

Johnson and Johnson to pay $2.5 billion to resolve thousands of ASR metal hip lawsuits

DePuy ASR hip recall 435x369 Johnson and Johnson to pay $2.5 billion to resolve thousands of ASR metal hip lawsuitsJohnson & Johnson will pay more than $2.5 billion to resolve more than 7,500 lawsuits involving defective ASR metal-on-metal hip implants made by its subsidiary DePuy Othopaedics.

DePuy issued a worldwide recall on an estimated 93,000 of its ASR all-metal hip replacement systems in 2010 after reports that the devices were failing at a faster than expected rate. Traditional hip implants can last 20 years or more before needing to be replaced. However, a large number of DePuy’s ASR devices were failing in five years or less.

Unlike traditional hip implants that are made with ceramic or plastic parts, the ASR implant was made with all metal parts with the idea that these implants would be able to hold up better over time. At the time, the artificial hips were considered to be ideal for younger or more active adults.

The design, however, proved to be defective. Over time, as the metal parts rubbed against each other, bits of metal debris would fall into the joint space, damaging and inflaming surrounding tissue. Even worse, metal ions were seeping into the bloodstream causing a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.

Johnson & Johnson agreed to cover the cost of revision surgery for patients who needed to have their devices removed and replaced. But the handout was considered too minimal to tens of thousands of patients who endured unnecessary pain and suffering. They filed lawsuits against the health care giant, and many will finally be compensated.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit should receive about $250,000 each and the settlement covers patients who had their implants removed or replaced before August 31, 2013. The settlement does not resolve all the lawsuits waged against the company.

Source: Chicago Tribune