Lawsuits Over Recalled DePuy ASR Hip Replacements Top 1,000

About 1,000 people have filed a DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, which could face more than $1 billion in liability for problems caused by the defective components that were recalled last year. 

Lawsuits over the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants continue to be filed in state and federal courts throughout the United States, and it is likely that many more cases will be brought by individuals who received one of the defective hip replacements.

The latest estimates on the number of cases brought to date was reported this week by the Wall Street Journal, which also said that J&J bulked up its liability fund by $570 million last year to cover the potential cost of DePuy ASR settlements.

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A steady flow of complaints over failures and side effects of the metal hip replacement systems began to flow into courts shortly after the company issued a DePuy ASR hip implant recall in August 2010.

More than 90,000 DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems were sold before the hip replacements were recalled. The manufacturers have acknowledged that data so far has shown that about 12% to 13% of these hips will fail within five years. However, as individuals with one of the recalled hip replacements continue to be monitored by their doctors, it is expected that the rate of DePuy ASR hip replacement problems will ultimately be much higher. More recent estimates have suggested that half of the people who received a the recalled hip may experiencing loosening within six years, with may requiring their DePuy ASR hip be removed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Wells Fargo analyst estimated that the company could face $1 billion in liability costs.

The company has tried to stem the tide of legal claims by offering to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs incurred by patients, but that likely represents only a small portion of the compensation they may ultimately be responsible for.

After the recall was first announced, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. attempted to get orthopedic surgeons and patients to return any of the removed hip implants to the company. They also attempted get doctors to have patients sign releases authorizing the device manufacturer to obtain copies of their medical records. DePuy ASR hip lawyers representing individuals who received one of the defective implants decried the move, pointing out that hip patients may be giving up important evidence, as there were no guarantees the devices would be properly preserved.

Metal-on-metal hip replacements, which use cobalt and chromium in their construction, account for about one-third of the 250,000 hip replacements performed each year in the United States. However, in recent years, concerns over problems with metal-on-metal hip replacements has been growing.

As the metal hip replacement parts rub against each other, microscopic particles of cobalt and chromium may be shed into the body, which can result in metal poisoning, also known as metallosis. This may result in soft tissue damage, inflammatory reactions, bone loss, genetic damage, asceptic fibrosis, local necrosis or other problems that may lead to the need for a risky hip revision surgery.

The FDA has requested metal hip manufacturers to provide more data on metal poisoning and metal implants.

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  • BelindaJuly 20, 2011 at 11:17 am

    My husband was age 33 when he got this asr hip. This was four years ago and has had nothing but problems which has resulted in soon to be hip replacement number four. He has had severe pain that has never resolved.dislocations,infections,metalosses,loosening. No amount of money would bring back four years of pain/problem free. Not mentioning time with me and our two young children.

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