Stryker, a major manufacturer of hip replacement devices, said on Monday that it had reached a settlement in thousands of lawsuits involving now-recalled all-metal hip devices. The settlement could cost the company about $1 billion.
The deal would represent one of the highest amounts paid in the last year by an implant manufacturer to resolve claims by patients who said they were injured by an all-metal device, The New York Times reports.
A year ago, the DePuy 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). All-metal hips have ball and cup components both made from metal, rather than a mix of metal, ceramic, and plastic, as in other devices. Metal-on-metal implants have been largely abandoned in the face of evidence that as the hip’s components rub together they create tiny metallic particles that can enter the patient’s bloodstream and severely damage tissue and muscle, the Times reports. In thousands of lawsuits, hip recipients have reported injuries including pain, loosening of the joint, hip dislocation, difficulty walking, cysts around the joint, and elevated chromium and cobalt in the blood. Many patients have needed additional surgery – revision surgery – to remove and replace the all-metal hips.
Stryker said the settlement covered patients who had received the Rejuvenate Modular-Neck or the ABG II Modular-Neck and who underwent operations to have the implant replaced. Stryker recalled both models in 2012 as complaints increased, according to the Times. Stryker has set aside $1.45 billion to settle the claims but the company expects the eventual total to be higher.