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Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR Hip Implant Failure Reports Date Back to 2007

Sep 22, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit knew as far back as 2007 that its ASR hip implant system was causing problems for recipients. But the company didn’t recall the Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant until August, meaning thousands of patients were needlessly put at risk of significant injury.

Johnson & Johnson announced the recall of the DePuy ASR Hip Implant system after 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. The recall involved the 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.

According to a report on the Independent, a UK media outlet, the Australian Joint Registry – the second largest database in the world after the England and Wales National Joint Registry – issued seven reports to DePuy starting in 2007 that identified problems with the hip implant system. The ASR system was finally withdrawn from the Australian market in December 2009.

Professor Stephen Graves, director of the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry, told the Independent that DePuy had behaved “irresponsibly and very badly,” putting patients needlessly at risk. “It is a complete untruth that DePuy did not have reason to withdraw the ASR before now; we have been telling them since 2007, but they allowed it to be used on thousands of people,” Graves said.

In March, DePuy Orthopedics warned US Doctors that the ASR appeared to have a high early failure rate, but it waited until August to issue the recall. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) records, since early 2008, it received about 300 complaints on the ASR involving patients in the U.S. While it was on the market, more than 93,000 patients worldwide were fitted with an ASR hip implant.

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.

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