Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, has been dealing with thousands of lawsuits regarding its metal-on-metal ASR hip implant, which, according to the New York Times, has been dubbed “one of the biggest medical device failures in recent decades.” The article also points out evidence presented in the trials that alleges J&J knew of design problems with the implant long before the company decided to recall it.
About 93,000 patients worldwide have received an ASR hip, one third of those in the U.S. After gathering the number of hip device replacements, DePuy estimated that nearly 40 percent of patients who received the ASR metal-on-metal hip would likely need to have it replaced within five years.
Other makers of metal-on-metal hip implants such as Smith & Nephew, Wright Medical, Zimmer Biomet Holdings and Stryker have faced similar lawsuits for similar complaints such as bone erosion, damage to surrounding tissue and metallosis, a dangerous blood condition that occurs when metal bits flake off the device and make their way into the bloodstream.
Traditional hip implants are made of plastic or ceramic parts that can last up to 20 years. Initially, these metal-on-metal designs were recommended for patients that were younger or had higher levels of activity in their daily lives. The manufacturers claimed that they would last longer and perform better for more active lifestyles.
Johnson & Johnson began recalling its ASR metal hip implant in August 2010 amid reports that unusually high rates of the devices failed after just five years.
Source: New York Times