DePuy's Chief Exec Testifies on Knowledge of ASR Hip Implant During Trial's Fourth DayJan 31, 2013
The man who oversaw the marketing roll-out of the failed DePuy Orthopaedics ASR metal-on-metal hip implant assailed to the company’s top position by 2011.
On Wednesday, his videotaped testimony was being played before jurors as his company attempts to defend itself against the first of thousands of claims that he and others at DePuy hid evidence from the public that the ASR hip implant was defective.
Johnson & Johnson appointed Andrew Ekdahl in 2011 to head its DePuy Orthopaedics division after the company stumbled over the previous five years, largely due to the problems caused by the ASR metal-on-metal hip implant. Ekdahl, according to a New York Times report, had been in charge of marketing at DePuy and that included the introduction and continuous misdirections that eventually led to the device’s recall in August 2010.
Ekdahl’s videotaped testimony was played during the fourth day of a trial involving the first claim against the ASR hip implant to reach a jury. The case is being heard in Los Angeles Superior Court but has gained national attention as tens of thousands of victims and other recipients of this specific hip implant in the U.S. await the result. Many have already filed injury claims against DePuy after they were forced to endure months of severe pain and a costly revision surgery to remove the failed hip implant. Thousands more are likely to experience these same complications. Previous testimony delivered in this trial shows that executives at DePuy, including Ekdahl, were aware that the ASR hip implant would fail early (within five years) for at least 40 percent of its recipients.
Based on the testimony played for jurors on Wednesday, Ekdahl’s level of deception related to the ASR hip implant goes beyond that one internal study which detailed the early failure rate. New York Times reports that jurors heard Ekdahl being pressed by attorneys representing Loren Kransky, a 65-year-old victim of a failed DePuy ASR hip implant, to admit that the device was recalled in August 2010 because “it did not meet the clinical standards we wanted in the marketplace.” Prior to that testimony, including the months leading to the recall, Ekdahl had publicly stated that the ASR was doing very well on the market, even as reports of its failures had begun to accumulate.
Ekdahl also testified that he was placed in charge of the introduction of the ASR device in 2005, when it was released in the U.S., and was a top marketing executive at DePuy as the failed hip implant was given to more than 90,000 recipients in this country alone and tens of thousands more around the world.
During this time, according to previous testimony in this case, executives at DePuy were being made aware of internal tests that showed its ASR device was under-performing other devices on the market and was hearing from surgeons who reported widespread complications in patients who received it.
People who received an ASR metal-on-metal hip implant were likely to have the cup component fail to fuse to their hip bone, leading to pain and inflammation and cause the implant to fall out of place. Recipients were forced to endure painful revision surgeries to either correct or remove the device. The ASR hip implant also shed toxic amounts of metallic ions into a recipient’s bloodstream, leading to tissue and organ damage, especially at the site of the implant.
More marketing executives with DePuy are expected to be called to testify as the trial continues this week in Los Angeles, according to The Times report.