Girardi | Keese

Evidence Shows Defective Hip Implant Phaseout

Medical device manufacturer Johnson & Johnson faces a variety of product liability lawsuits based on its DePuy ASR Hip Implants. The all-metal hip implants were inadequately tested before they were released for sale and experienced high failure rates.

Recently published documents indicate that the company decided to phase out its all-metal hip implants after receiving a nonapproval letter from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA's letter pointed out that some patients had alarming levels of metal ions in their blood and that the safety data the company submitted was either incomplete, poorly assembled, or inconsistent with other less favorable studies.

It appears that Johnson & Johnson executives decided to sell off remaining stocks of these defective medical devices despite being aware that these devices were highly dangerous. The metal in DePuy ASR hip implants can break off and shoot tiny metal debris throughout a person's body. This results in severe pain, tissue damage and the need for corrective surgery.

The emails and internal documents emerging during the course of the litigation paint a grim picture of a company putting its profits before patient safety.

"We are almost out of ASR, and the few doctors still using ASR are threatening to leave DePuy anyhow," one executive wrote in an email.

Source: The New York Times, "Hip Device Phaseout Followed F.D.A. Data Request," Barry Meier, March 22, 2012

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