DePuy Was Aware of Existing Problems With Hip Devices Prior to Recall

In the United States, approximately 250,000 hip replacement procedures are performed every year. Out of that frequency, only about 1-3 percent of recipients require corrective surgery of the original implant. A small percentage like this should facilitate the identification and tracking of defective hip replacements by regulators. Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have a national artificial joint registration system.This lack of a regulatory system along with the prolonged amount of time it takes for a hip replacement to malfunction has allowed DePuy to sell 93,000 hip replacements worldwide unregulated. Consequently, the ASR hip replacement recall has caused deleterious affects to thousands of recipients.

Australia and the United Kingdom are two countries that do have artificial joint registries in effect and were able to detect the defective implants immediately. The National Joint Registry in Australia reported the DePuy hip replacements as having higher than normal failure rates as early as 2007. In 2009, DePuy took subsequent action and voluntarily withdrew its products from the market. In a similar situation, the National Joint Registry of England and Wales was also prompt in discovering defective hip replacements. Published studies by researchers at Oxford University presented statistically that 3.4 percent of patients out of 660 who received DePuy metal-on-metal hip implants suffered from signs and symptoms of metallosis. Comparatively, the studies also showed that 155 patients who received a competing manufacturer’s hip implants were examined and did not exhibit any similar side effects.

Around the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received several hundreds of complaints regarding metal-on-metal implants, but took no action due to the lack of a regulatory national registry. Many surgeons have also come forth, claiming that they alerted DePuy as to the complications caused by their implants early on, but received little to no response from the company. The public was not aware about the seriousness of this issue until the media began reporting about DePuy’s higher than normal failure rates in 2010. With increasing pressure from the public and the FDA, DePuy finally initiated a recall in August of 2010.

DePuy knew of its defective products and avoided initiating a recall. It is apparently clear that the company disregarded the health and safety of the consumer in order to avoid having more defective products undergo a public recall.Victims receiving defective hip implants and who want proper punitive damages should consult with an experienced lawyer handling these types of cases. For more information regarding ongoing litigation, visit the DePuy hip recall website for details.

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