NEW JERSEY– Ryortho.com reports that Stryker, the medical device manufacturer whose implants have been subject to several recent recalls, has been forced to pay another company, Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. $13.3 million plus another $500,000 to cover attorney’s fees and court costs following a patent lawsuit that carried on for a decade.
A federal judge felt that Howmedica Osteonics Corp., a subsidiary of Stryker, had acted so egregiously throughout the course ofthe litigation that requiring the company to pay attorney’s fees was warranted. Howmedica’s misconduct included presenting a company employee, Dr. Wang, as an independent expert.
The ruling also invalidated four patents owned by Stryker.
Stryker has come under scrutiny in the past because of their defective hip replacements and other defective medical devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Class 2 recall of the company’s metal-on-metal devices. The system could break down causing a variety of symptoms including joint dislocation, inflammation, pain, joint instability, loss of movement and a condition called metallosiswhich results from metal fragments to rubbing off of the device and enter the patient’s body. Thiscan cause damage to tissues, muscles and cause the patient to develop cysts and pseudo-tumors. Additional health complications can result from metal poisoning.
Part of the problem with metal-on-metal devices is that they were able to gain FDA approval by going through the fast track approval process. Despite the fact that they use a different material than traditional ceramic hip replacements, they were considered to be “substantially similar.” Other Stryker hip replacement and knee replacement systems have been subject to recalls as well.