DePuy A.S.R. Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacements: The Danger Lingers Years After Recall. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, manufactured and marketed defective hip implants known as A.S.R. The abbreviation stands for “Articular Surface Replacement.” The A.S.R. implants failed miserably. As a result, thousands of people throughout the United States sought revision (repairing and replacing) surgery for the defective implant. Consequently, many people suffered through multiple hip replacement surgeries as a result of DePuy’s failure to produce and design the A.S.R. devices with the appropriate care medical device manufacturers must exercise when designing, manufacturing medical devices.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national plaintiffs law firm whose lawyers have decades of experience fighting for their clients who were injured through no fault of their own. As a client of Parker Waichman, you will receive the benefit of our lawyers’ vast experience. If you or someone you love suffered substantial personal injuries or illness as a result of hip replacement surgery with the A.S.R. implant, then you or your loved one might be eligible for financial compensation.
A successfully implanted hip replacement should last about 15 years. Some will last longer and others for slightly shorter timeframes depending on the patient. However, fifteen years is the standard in the medical community. People’s artificial hips simply wore out and needed to be replaced. Forty percent of DePuy’s A.S.R. implants lasted about five years. Most companies’ artificial hips fail within five years about eight percent of the time. Therefore, it is plain to see that DePuy manufactured a medical device that was substantially below the relevant medical standards.
The upshot of the implant only lasting for five years is that a patient must suffer through two painful and risky surgical procedures all within a couple of years. Recovery from a hip replacement can be long and painful. In the first instance, any surgery, especially major surgery like a hip replacement is replete with risks. Patients tend to lose a lot of blood, and there is always the threat of infection, no matter how carefully the surgeon performs the procedure.
People who need hip replacement surgery are usually older. Recovery is more difficult for older folks and any number of complications can arise. Also, hip replacement patients receive powerful and addictive painkilling prescriptions to combat the searing pain the patient suffers after their leg, and hip muscles have been pulled apart and their bones drilled. Therefore, it is a tremendous inconvenience, to say the very least, to have to go through this procedure twice in a short span of time.
DePuy’s A.S.R. hip first emerged in 2003 as an alternative to the traditional plastic and metal joint. The process was called “resurfacing,” and it was performed outside of the U.S. Perhaps not coincidentally, DePuy sold almost two-thirds of its A.S.R. units in Australia and the United Kingdom, and the remaining third in the U.S. out of a total 93,000 units manufactured and implanted in patients. DePuy began marketing its A.S.R. device in the U.S. for traditional transplants in 2004 and marketed the resurfacing and traditional versions internationally.
It was Australian and English physicians who first observed that their patients experienced complications with the A.S.R. device. DePuy unscrupulously deflected the blame away from itself and onto the surgeons who performed the procedures. DePuy claimed that poor surgical technique was the cause of the problems their patients experienced. That was far from the truth. There is some evidence to suggest that DePuy knew in the mid-1980s that the metal-on-metal design which became the A.S.R. could cause adverse side effects in the people who received the implants.
DePuy continued to engage in deceptive and unfair business practices for another twenty-plus year. In 2008, a company consultant warned DePuy that the metal-on-metal was rife with complications and should not be used further. One year later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected DePuy’s application to market the A.S.R. resurfacing unit domestically. The FDA denied DePuy’s request citing elevated levels of metallic ions in the patient’s blood. It was a flaw that DePuy knew all along was present. DePuy failed to inform European and other medical authorities that the FDA rejected their application because of metallic debris entering the patient’s bloodstreams. The result is the DePuy willfully concealed that the implant could poison their blood from many people across the world who received DePuy’s implant.
The metal-on-metal was once popular with orthopedic surgeons. Orthopedic surgeons initially believed that metal-on-metal hip devices had the potential to last much longer than the accepted plastic and metal combination. Notwithstanding the enthusiasm with which the metal-on-metal design was met by surgeons across the world, the design is no longer in use because of its excessively high rate of failure. DePuy recalled the A.S.R. device in 2010 and sold off its reserves of the device.
As a result of DePuy’s and Johnson & Johnson’s deficient design and manufacture, 8,000 people across the U.S. filed claims seeking substantial compensation for the injuries they suffered from their defective A.S.R. hip replacement device. DePuy and Johnson & Johnson did not readily admit that they did anything wrong. In fact, they fought one lawsuit and lost but successfully defended another. However, defending every case was impossible. Consequently, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson tendered a settlement to the plaintiffs.
The settlement plan called for the defendants that are DePuy and Johnson & Johnson, to pay the plaintiffs $2.5 billion in a cash settlement to be divided among every person who had revision surgery due to a defective A.S.R. implant. The defendants also agreed to pay the medical bills for all of the people who needed surgery. The plan was very complicated, and the award was dependent upon numerous factors like how long the person had the artificial hip before it was replaced, whether they smoked or were overweight, and the age of the patient at the time he or she required the revision surgery. On average, each person could receive about $250,000 as compensation for their pain and suffering.
All told, Johnson & Johnson was liable for over $3 billion in damages. That amount could go higher. At the time, the ASR settlement offer was made, 4,000 people were suffered adverse side effects from the A.S.R. but did not have revision surgery. Only those that had the second surgery received a settlement. However, Johnson & Johnson designated another $250,000 per person for anyone who had to have the revision surgery while the defendants were participating the in-settlement plan.
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson can continue to face claims from their deceptive practices relating to the A.S.R. As more and more of the devices fail, more plaintiffs could come forward. How much of a settlement they receive depends on the circumstances of their case. However, the more time that passes, the settlement will be smaller unless extenuating circumstances dictate that the payment should be more substantial.
If You Suffered from A Faulty Hip Replacement, We Could Help
Parker Waichman LLP stakes its reputation on finding justice for victims of Johnson & Johnson and DePuy. Call Parker Waichman LLP for scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim, or more convenient you can fill out our website contact form. Time is of the essence, and any delay in contacting us could cause you to give up your rights forever. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with one of our defective hip implant lawyers about your rights.