Four lawsuits filed by recipients of the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant have been added to a growing Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). They join more than 1,100 other lawsuits which claims defects with the all-metal version of the Pinnacle implant have caused serious and permanent injuries and unexpected medical costs.
The Pinnacle MDL is consolidated in a Texas U.S. District Court before Judge James Kinkeade. According to a report from MassDevice.com, the lawsuits were transferred to that court after the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation determined the claims made in these four most recent cases are similar to those already filed against DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson. The medical device company filed a motion to block the transfer of these lawsuits to be included in the MDL but that was denied.
These recent lawsuits were originally filed in California and Maryland. They all allege that defects with the metal-on-metal version of the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System hip implant caused the recipients to suffer complications soon after being implanted with the device and that those injuries eventually led to revision and replacement surgeries. The Pinnacle model of hip implant in question was released onto the U.S. market prior to DePuy’s failed ASR hip implant, another metal-on-metal device that was recalled entirely from the market in late 2010. Thousands of recipients of that device have made similar claims, as have many recipients of metal-on-metal hip implants.
The crux of these lawsuits centers on the hallmark problem with metal-on-metal hip implants, a defect that puts recipients at serious risk of permanent injuries like tissue and organ damage. Like other metal-on-metal hip implants, the DePuy Pinnacle model is prone to disperse tiny metal fragments through normal wear-and-tear of the hip implant. This causes an accumulation of the toxic metals cobalt and chromium in a recipient’s body and if this goes unnoticed, it could lead to dangerous complications, like the growth of small tumors to muscle and tissue death and organ damage.
People who’ve received the Pinnacle hip implant have also said it causes pain and inflammation at the site of the implant, popping and squeaks from that area, and complete failure of the device. Even though the Pinnacle and other metal-on-metal implants were touted as an option for younger recipients because they’re allegedly designed to last longer than traditional implants, the opposite has proven true.
The Pinnacle lawsuits have been building slower than others but other varieties of the device exist that do not use metal-on-metal components.
The fate of metal-on-metal hip implants appears almost doomed as federal health officials begin to realize the shortcomings of the process that got many of them onto the market in the first place. Through the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) “fast-track” approval system, many of these devices were allowed into the hands of surgeons without undergoing much pre-market safety testing.