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Advice for Victims of the DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recall

Sep 27, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

If you received a DePuy ASR hip implant and have experienced pain and problems walking, you may have been implanted with a defective device. In August, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit recalled the ASR hip implant because of early failures of the device in some people.

A hip implant should last for 15 years or so. However, recent data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the recalled devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. That report prompted DePuy to issue a worldwide recall of the he ASR XL Acetabular System, a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, a partial hip replacement that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur. Only the ASR XL Acetabular System was approved for use in the US.

Roughly 93,000 people around the world have received one of these faulty hip implants. According to DePuy, the recall means that additional testing and treatment may be necessary to ensure the hip is functioning well. In some cases, patients may need additional surgery.

In the US, the defective DePuy ASR hip implant is the now the subject of numerous lawsuits. Earlier this month, attorneys representing plaintiffs in Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits motioned the US. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all such federal cases in a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey before Judge Susan D. Wigenton. The panel is expected to hear arguments on the motion in November.

The recalled hip implant systems first became available in July 2003. The company has advised anyone who had implant surgery after July 2003 to contact the orthopedic surgeon or the hospital where the surgery took place to determine whether they received an ASR Hip implant.

On its Website, DePuy says that it “intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment, including revision surgery if it is necessary, associated with the ASR recall.” However, it appears this promise of reimbursement comes with strings attached. Payment for doctor’s costs, X-rays and any repair surgery is conditional on the patient agreeing to provide DePuy with all medical records, as well as the faulty hip implant. Patients must agree to sign a consent form to this effect.

DePuy’s patient information sheet states that although signing the Medical Release Form is not required, “without access to all of the appropriate medical information, it is unlikely that we will be able to consider the patient’s claims for reimbursement and prompt resolution of their claim may not be possible.”

Attorneys representing people in DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits have warned that it is inappropriate that the original hip replacement and medical records would come under the control of DePuy, as doing so could hamper their product liability claims against the device maker. Recipients of the recalled ASR hip implant should not sign anything given to them by DePuy without first consulting an attorney. It is also important that the original hip replacement be preserved as evidence.


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