On Monday, medical device manufacturer Stryker announced that it had reached a settlement in thousands of lawsuits involving now-recalled all-metal hip replacement devices. The company’s settlement expenses could top $1 billion.
The Stryker settlement is one of the highest amounts paid in the last year by an implant manufacturer to resolve claims by patients who claim they were injured by an all-metal hip device, The New York Times reports. In November 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay about $2.5 billion to resolve 8,000 lawsuits filed by patients who said they were injured by an all-metal implant, the Articular Surface Replacement (ASR).
In all-metal hips – also called metal-on-metal (MoM) – both ball and cup components are made from metal, rather than a mix of metal, ceramic, and plastic, as in older designs. MoM implants have been largely abandoned in of evidence that as the hip’s components rub together during movement they create metallic debris that can enter the patient’s bloodstream and severely damage tissue and muscle, the Times reports. Thousands of hip recipients have filed lawsuits claiming injuries including pain, loosening of the joint, hip dislocation, difficulty walking, cysts around the joint, and elevated chromium and cobalt in the blood. Patients have been forced to undergo additional surgery – revision surgery – to remove and replace the all-metal hips.
The Stryker settlement covers patients who received the Rejuvenate Modular-Neck or the ABG II Modular-Neck and who underwent operations to have the implant replaced. The company recalled both models in 2012 as patient complaints mounted. According to the Time, Stryker has set aside $1.45 billion to settle the claims but the company says the final total costs could be higher.
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