By now, most everyone has heard of the DePuy hip recall. More than 90,000 patients have received one of these metal-on-metal DePuy hip manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics. Given the failure of these hips, the pain and future medical treatment, and the recall, more than 10,000 patients have filed lawsuits against these companies.
Recently, the New York Times released an article that provides the public with information that Johnson & Johnson, the parent of DePuy Orthopaedics, never felt it necessary to provide to the general public. Given the ongoing litigation, Johnson & Johnson was required to produce various documents to be used at trial. Thank goodness the court ordered production of these documents, unsealed, because now the public can learn what Johnson and Johnson has been hiding all of this time.
There is currently a trial expected to begin in Los Angeles, California. In light of the trial setting, a document reveals:
In pretrial testimony, Paul Voorhorst, DePuy’s director of biostatistics and data management, said that the company performed several reviews of A.S.R. failures in patients in fall 2011, a year after it recalled the model. Based on the number of patients who had already undergone device replacement at the time, DePuyestimated that about 37 percent of patients who got an A.S.R. might need to have it replaced within five years of receiving it.
The New York Times article reveals that these particular metal-on-metal hips failed at an alarming rate – 3 times the rate of other artificial hips. What’s worse, Johnson & Johnson knew that the failure estimates of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems were likely grossly inadequate. When the products came out, DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson insisted that the failure rate of their DePuy hips was between 12 and 13 percent (12-13%). The Johnson & Johnson internal analysis conducted in 2011 (shortly after recalling more than 90,000 artifical hip systems) reveals that the metal-on-metal systems would fail within 5 (five) years in nearly 40 percent of all patients. What patient would voluntarily choose a medical product with a 40% failure rate? What doctor would recommend such a system? What’s more, the internal reports reveal that the company estimates many, many more patients, in addition to the 10,000 already affected, will experience a failure of their DePuy hip system in the future.
While the FDA has ordered that all manufacturers conduct in-depth studies of metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. The problem is, the FDA stops there – it allows each manufacturer to decide how to conduct the study rather than dictating parameters. We need the FDA to become more involved in protecting the public and directing the studies and research performed by manufacturers of products that are placed in the market for human use. It is natural for us to rely upon the expertise of our doctors when they tell us that we need medical care and also trust those doctors when they recommend various medical devices and products over others. However, our trust is misplaced when the doctors themselves are not fully educated as to the risks associated with the products, as is the case here with the DePuy hip replacement systems.
In response to the overwhelming evidence, according to Bloomberg News, Johnson & Johnson has offered to pay $2 billion to settle this matter. This is an unconfirmed report.
This is another example of how injury trial attorneys can help benefit the public. The obvious way we help the public is by helping individuals recover for their injuries caused by the negligence at the hands of another. But we can also help the public as a whole. The plaintiff attorneys involved in the DuPuy hip litigation have not backed down. They suspected that there were documents that the public had never seen and they were right. By bringing this litigation to the court system and now to the forefront of the news, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics will have to answer for their actions, or lack thereof.
Lindsay Rakers, trial attorney