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20 Australians Join DePuy ASR Hip Implant Lawsuit

Jun 3, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

Twenty people in the Australian state of Tasmania have filed a class action lawsuit over the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant.  The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit has had to undergo three hip surgeries after receiving her defective DePuy ASR hip implant in 2005.

According to a report from the Australian media outlet The Mercury, about 5500 Australians are estimated to have received a DePuy ASR hip implant this decade. According to the lawyer representing the Tasmanian class action plaintiffs, the major problem with the all-metal device is that "metal wear debris gets into the bloodstream and causes soft tissue reaction and also degradation of the bone around the hip."

The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, 40-year-old Tammy Stanford, told The Mercury that a surgery she underwent in January revealed that her hip joint was inflamed and the tissue around the joint and bone had degenerated.

"There was a lot of wear and tear on my body and he [her surgeon] actually described what he had to scrape as a black tar, gunky substance and the images of that were just terrifying, thinking I had that inside me," she said.

Another 100 Australians have filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S., where DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is based.

A hip implant should last around 15 years, but when the DePuy ASR hip implant system was recalled last August, it was revealed that data from a registry in the United Kingdom indicated the implant had a failure rate of 12 percent within five years of implantation.  However, the true premature failure could be much higher. Information recently published by the British Orthopaedic Association indicates that failure rates at six years may be as high as 49 percent.   The association's statement, issued in March, also warned that the 21 percent revision rate at 4 years could rise to 35 percent “if all currently known painful implants progress to revision.”

In the U.S., many DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  A partner with Parker Waichman LLP, was appointed to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in that litigation earlier this year.

DePuy is also facing lawsuits over its Pinnacle hip implant, another metal-on-metal device that is similar in design to the ASR implant.   Recently, DePuy Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in federal court in Texas.

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