Founded by Revra DePuy in 1895, DePuy Manufacturing Company grew in the 1900s to become a multimillion dollar medical device manufacturer. In 1998, DePuy Inc. was purchased by Johnson & Johnson and has continued to grow. In the past two decades, DePuy Orthopaedics has developed many joint replacement devices, notably their hip replacement devices. The company has also issued numerous recalls and faced thousands of lawsuits linked to DePuy hip replacement devices. Those lawsuits allege the company marketed devices that were defectively designed and failed to warn patients about those risks.
Some of the DePuy hip replacement lawsuits that have gone to court have resulted in millions of dollars in awards to the plaintiffs.
DePuy Orthopaedics Hip Recalls
DePuy Orthopaedics itself is no stranger to hip device recalls. In 2010 the company came under fire for its handling of the ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) hip replacement device recall, after critics argued the company knew about reports of the ASR failing early two years before the company stopped sales of the device.
According to the Safe Patient Project (from Consumers Union), from November 2002 through July 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics issued 150 recalls of its hip replacement devices. These DePuy hip replacement recalls were issued for a variety of reasons, including early failure, design flaws, “ongoing post-market surveillance,” and labeling problems.
DePuy ASR Recalls
In March 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics sent a warning to doctors that its ASR hip replacement had a high early failure rate for some patients. That warning was sent shortly after the company announced it was phasing out the hip implant due to a decrease in sales. DePuy Orthopaedics made its announcement after data from Australia suggested an unusually high early failure rate in patients with small stature or weak bones.
Then, in August 2010, DePuy announced the company was recalling around 93,000 units of the ASR due to the high early failure rate. According to the company’s documents, 37 percent of the hips failed within five years of implantation. The hips were initially marketed as lasting 20 years and offering patients a greater range of motion.
DePuy Pinnacle Pulled From Market
In 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics announced it would no longer sell the hip replacement devices due to changes in U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. It did not call the move a recall, instead choosing to discontinue the product.
DePuy Hip Lawsuit
Lawsuits were filed against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson, alleging the companies did not warn patients about the risk of serious complications, including the early failure rate and the risk of metallosis. In 2013, some of those lawsuits were settled for around $2.5 billion. Then in 2015, the settlement was expanded to include patients who had the device removed after the initial settlement was announced. Patients received an average of $300,000 in the settlement.
The 2013 settlement was announced after a jury in California awarded a retired man $8.3 million in damages linked to his ASR hip implant.
As of March 15, 2017, DePuy faces 1,492 lawsuits concerning the ASR consolidated for pretrial proceedings in MDL 2197.
DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuits
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have also faced lawsuits concerning the Pinnacle hip replacement devices.
The company faces around 9,000 lawsuits alleging it knew the hip replacement devices had an early failure rate but did not warn patients or the medical community about those risks. Specifically, plaintiffs argue the Pinnacle had an unreasonably high risk of causing metallosis. In one such DePuy hip replacement lawsuit, a Texas jury ordered the device maker to pay more than $1 billion to six patients who alleged they were harmed by the Pinnacle hip implant. Of that $1 billion, the bulk was in punitive damages.
Later in 2016, a Texas jury awarded around $500 million to five plaintiffs involved in a DePuy hip lawsuit, including $360 million in punitive damages.
As of March 15, 2017, DePuy faces 8,875 lawsuits consolidated for pretrial proceedings regarding the Pinnacle, in MDL 2244.
Contact a DePuy Hip Attorney
If you have been harmed by the use of a defective hip replacement device, you may be eligible for financial compensation. We are experienced in medical implant litigation and are committed to defending the rights of patients like you, who have been harmed through no fault of their own. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.