Australian Gov’t Urges Action Over Problems with DePuy Hip Replacement

Lawmakers in Australia are calling for action to warn consumers about the risk of DePuy ASR hip replacement problems

An Australian senate committee is urging the country’s Department of Health and Ageing to make DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants a priority, saying that all recipients need to be warned about the dangers associated with the device and a program needs to be created to monitor recipients for signs of metal blood poisoning caused by fragments shed from the implants, a condition known as metallosis.

The committee also recommended changes to their own medical device monitoring programs, pointing out that problems with the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems first began to appear in 2008, several years before a recall was issued.

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Australian senators called DePuy hip implants “ticking time bombs” and said that the suffering by people who received the metal hip replacement systems was “intolerable and unacceptable.”

An estimated 5,500 Australians received the hip implants before they were recalled last year, and 430 of them have suffered through revision surgery to remove them due to DePuy ASR metal hip implant failures and complications.

A DePuy ASR hip recall was issued in the United States in August 2010, after the manufacturer indicated that data suggests about 12% to 13% of these hips could fail within five years. However, more recent estimates suggest the failure rate for the DePuy ASR hip will be substantially higher, with some experts suggesting that nearly half could fail within six years of the original surgery.

An estimated 37,000 of the recalled implants were sold in the United States and more than 3,500 individuals have already filed a DePuy ASR hip lawsuit alleging that DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, designed and sold a defective product without adequately warning consumers about the risk of catastrophic failure and metal poisoning caused by cobalt and chromium shavings that are shed into the body as the metal parts rub against each other.


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