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M. Brandon Smith
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DePuy ASR Hip Implant Failure Rate May Be As High As 49% In All Patients

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On August 26, 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc, recalled two of its hip replacement systems – the ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System.

DePuy said in its recall that “New data shows that five years after implantation, approximately 12% of patients (1 in 8) who had received the ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients (1 in 8) who had received the ASR total hip replacement needed to have a revision surgery.”

The replacement systems were implanted in about 93,000 patients. That would come out to about 12,000 people who will have to endure a new hip replacement surgery to replace the implants.

It was a shocking number – or so it seemed at the time.

But now, this just in, Bloomberg News reports that:

“A hip replacement made by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)’s DePuy unit fails in the U.K. as often as 49 percent of the time, or four times what the company cited in recalling the device last year, a British orthopedists’ group said.”

Only the ASR XL systems were approved for use in the United States. They were implanted in 37,000 patients. About 5,000 were implanted in the United Kingdom.

Forty-two thousand patients times 49 percent = 20,580 people. And there is no telling what the failure rate of the other DePuy hip systems used in about 51,000 patients will be. Another 49 percent? Nearly 25,000 more people? Only time will tell but for those patients with the DePuy ASR implants, time is not on their side given rising cobalt levels, Cobaltism, metallosis and their statute of limitations continuously running that could out right bar their claims completely if a DePuy ASR Lawsuit is not initiated in a timely manner.

“These are catastrophic failures,” former podiatric surgeon John Restaino told Bloomberg. Restaino is also an attorney and co-chairman of the plaintiffs’ science committee in federal litigation over the device in the U.S. “A revision rate of 49 percent after six years is astounding,” he commented.

Astounding is an understatement. This is nothing short of a medical disaster of monstrous proportions.

To make matters worse (and who would imagine they could be?) Johnson & Johnson’s actions throughout this fiasco have been far from patient-friendly, despite the claim in the recall notice: “DePuy makes patient safety and health a top priority and is continually evaluating data about its products.”

The notice went on to say, “DePuy intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment if you need services, including revision surgery if it is necessary, associated with the recall of ASR … DePuy will then reimburse you for your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.”

Really? What about complete compensation for the harms and losses their defective hip implant has caused, not just what DePuy decides is “reasonable?” Their offer leaves out injury such as the effect on overall physical and mental health, pain and mental anguish, disfigurement or scarring, real pain and suffering endured and future medical expenses.

Further, DePuy’s recall came well after defects with the product were discovered. The products were discontinued in late 2009, ostensibly because of “slow sales.”

As quoted in this news article, one DePuy ASR lawsuit states: “Officials of J&J’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit knew for years many of the 93,000 patients with ASR hip implants required corrective surgeries due to the mechanisms’ defects.

J&J has also sought to gain access to patients’ medical records, for reasons including “To evaluate whether costs related to the patient’s treatment are eligible for reimbursement.”

They add that: “We regret that without access to all of the appropriate medical information, it is unlikely that we will be able to consider the patient’s claims for reimbursement and prompt resolution of their claim may not be possible.”

These actions and statements on the part of Johnson & Johnson make one thing very clear. Any patient with a DePuy ASR hip implant would do well to seek legal advice before having any dealings with J&J and/or DePuy Orthopaedics. Most all Hip Implant Lawyers filing DePuy ASR Lawsuits on behalf of patients nationwide, like we are doing at Childers, Schlueter and Smith, will review a patients claim with them free of charge in the beginning. Once a viable DePuy ASR calim has been identified, then the patient and implant victim makes the ultimate decision as to how they desire to proceed. It comes with no obligation but we feel everyone should at least know their rights and options before moving forward with a potential DePuy ASR Lawsuit or defective hip implant claim.