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DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recall Prompts 1,000+ to Join Class Action Lawsuit

Apr 26, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Litigation surrounding DePuy Orthopaedic's recalled metal-on-metal ASR Hip Implant is gaining momentum in Australia.  So far, more than 1,000 recipients of DePuy ASR Hip Implants have joined a class action lawsuit in that country.  Attorneys representing the plaintiffs say damages in the DePuy ASR Hip Implant lawsuit could be worth as much as $200 million.

It seems that metal-on-metal hip implants are attracting as much scrutiny in Australia as they are in the U.S.  Last year, an Australian Senate inquiry recommended regulators in that country consider the best way of establishing a process to monitor the health effects in all patients who have received metal-on-metal hip replacements. There's also been a push to require Australian doctors to notify patients with metal-on-metal implants about the importance of having yearly blood tests to monitor levels of cobalt, chromium and other toxic metals.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have sparked concerns that they could be leaching dangerous amounts of metal ions into this tissue and blood streams of recipients.  This can lead to early failure of the implant, as well as damage to tissue and organs.  In February, a report in the British Medical Journal raised fears that hundreds of thousands of people around the world may have been exposed to dangerously high levels of toxic metals from failing metal-on-metal hip implants.  Last month, authors of a study published in The Lancet said all-metal hip implants should no longer be used because of their high failure rates.

The FDA had already directed 21 companies that market all-metal hip replacement to conduct post-market studies of their products to determine if they were shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients. The recommendations made by its advisory panel in June could lead to new testing standards and review requirements to be met before an all-metal hip implant device can be approved by the FDA.

DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the ASR XL Acetabular Hip Implant and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System were recalled after data from a medical device registry in the U.K. indicated that they were failing in about 12 of patients within five years. At the time the devices were recalled, some 93,000 patients worldwide received one of the ASR models.

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