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DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Lawsuits Piling Up

Feb 13, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Over 900 product liability lawsuits have been filed against an all-metal version of DePuy Orthopaedics’ Pinnacle hip implant system. The complaints are pending in multidistrict litigation before Judge James E. Kinkeade in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2244), who will soon assign leadership roles to attorneys in the litigation.

The DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits were filed by people who claim the  metal-on-metal version of the device is similar in design to DePuy’s ASR hip implant, which was recalled in 2010, and should be recalled as well.  The complaints also allege the device caused severe pain, dislocation of the hip implant, early hip replacement failure or the need for additional revision surgery.

Metal-on-metal hip implants such as the model of the Pinnacle hip implant named in lawsuits have been raising serious safety concerns for several years now. In fact, all makers of such devices that are marketed in the U.S. have been directed by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)  to conduct post-market studies of their products to determine if they were shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients.

Late last month, The Sunday Telegraph reported that regulators in the United Kingdom are growing increasingly concerned that increased cobalt and chromium levels from all-metal hips  could be toxic to kidneys and, in the case of pregnant women, be passed on to the unborn child. In a separate report, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that a new study of 72 metal hip implant patients conducted at Bristol University had found that patients with metal-on-metal hips could be in danger of developing cancer, according to the researches, 17 exhibited genetic changes to the cells of the bladder, while 3 actually developed cancer. The concern is that the cellular changes could be a precursor to cancer. The study has yet to be published, and is currently undergoing data analysis, but could be released next month.

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