According to an article published in the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson executives allegedly knew about flaws in the design of its metal-on-metal ASR hip implant before it proceeded with a device recall in 2010.
The Times reported that internal documents were disclosed during a trial for lawsuits filed against J&J and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, that indicate the company concealed the information from physicians and patients.
The ASR metal hip device was being marketed in the United States in 2005. Among problems reported by physicians and patients related to the hip implant is that the device sheds metal debris as the parts rub together from normal use. This can result in not only a negative reaction around the joint that leads to deterioration of the surrounding tissue, but also may allow metal ions to be released into the bloodstream, which can lead to a type of metal poisoning called metallosis.
Traditional hip implants made of plastic or ceramic parts can last as long as 20 years. However, metal-on-metal hip implant patients are finding themselves undergoing revision surgeries to remove or replace their defective metal hip implant, some in as little as five years.
The Times reports the company’s internal documents reveal even after a number of complaints, DePuy continued to sell the device, but surgeons who were considered to be consultants to the company were soon abandoning the metal-on-metal design.
Source: New York Times