DePuy Hip Replacement Lawsuits

Since its inception, DePuy has grown into a multinational medical device maker, but DePuy hip replacement devices have faced numerous recalls. Meanwhile, the device maker and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, have faced thousands of lawsuits linked to its products. Those DePuy lawsuits allege patients were put at an increased risk of harm thanks to an early failure rate and a risk of metallosis. Although DePuy has settled some of those hip replacement lawsuits, thousands more have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as patients wait to have their turn to tell the courts about their hip implant ordeal.

Among the devices DePuy faces claims over are the ASR XL and the Pinnacle. According to the Safe Patient Project, DePuy issued 150 recalls of its hip implant devices between 2002 and 2013.

DePuy ASR XL

The DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System was first made available in the US in 2005. Within five years, however, concerns were raised that the ASR XL had a higher than normal failure rate, putting patients at risk of serious complications that could require revision surgery to correct.

The ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) was marketed as a hip replacement that allowed for greater range of motion and would last longer than previous hip replacement designs. According to The New York Times, DePuy was able to market the ASR without ever performing patient testing because it relied on testing from its Ultima hip replacement device—a completely different design than the ASR—in its application for approval.

Unfortunately for some patients, this had disastrous results. Doctors across the US reportedly saw patients who experienced complications with their DePuy ASR replacement. Some reached out to DePuy but were allegedly told the problem was not with the device, it was with the doctor’s surgical technique.

Among the issues that doctors were reported were high levels of cobalt and chromium in their blood, signs of metal debris coming loose from the device and absorbed by the patient’s tissue. This can cause metallosis, a potentially serious condition that can cause organ damage. An investigation found that the shallow design of the DePuy ASR could make it more prone to metal debris, putting patients at an increased risk of metallosis and device failure.

Concerns about the DePuy ASR hip implant led one doctor who had initially been a researcher for DePuy to walk away from the company, after he says his concerns about the device weren’t heeded.

It wasn’t until March 2010 that DePuy issued a warning about the ASR, after the company announced it was discontinuing the device due to declining sales. In August 2010, a DePuy hip recall was issued, after the ASR XL showed higher than normal failure rates. According to Bloomberg, at one point, Johnson & Johnson estimated that up to 37 percent of the hip implants would fail within 4.6 years.

DePuy ASR XL Hip Replacement Study

One study, published in 2012 in the Journal of Arthroplasty, cited concerns with the ASR XL. That study found that 17 percent of patients included in the study required revision surgery within three years. Among the reasons for requiring revision surgery were pain, loosening of the joint, and squeaking. Additionally, patients who did not have revision surgery by the time the study was published complained of squeaking, grinding, and persistent pain. In all, almost 30 percent of patients included in the study reported some form of “implant dysfunction.”

Researchers noted a higher-than-expected rate of failure and lower-than-expected overall patient satisfaction linked to the DePuy ASR XL.

Meanwhile, a 2011 memo from the British Orthopaedic Association noted that failure rates varied from 21 percent revision rate at four years to 49 percent revision rate at six years. The association noted that patients presented with pain, elevated cobalt and chromium levels in the blood, and, in some cases, fluid collections or solid masses. Furthermore, it advised that pain in patients who received a metal-on-metal hip replacement device should be taken seriously and investigated.

DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit

Lawsuits have been filed against DePuy alleging the ASR XL was defectively designed, putting patients at risk of serious harm. In 2013, some of those hip replacement lawsuits were settled for around $2.5 billion, with an expansion to the settlement announced in 2015.

Also in 2013, a California jury awarded a plaintiff $8.3 million in his ASR XL lawsuit.

As of March 15, 2017, there are 1,492 DePuy lawsuits consolidated for pretrial litigation in MDL 2197. Those lawsuits concern allegations about the DePuy ASR.

DePuy Pinnacle

In 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics announced it was pulling the Pinnacle hip replacement devices from the market. At the time it made the announcement, the company said the decision was based on new FDA regulations.

Prior to the Pinnacle being removed from the market, however, patients complained about issues similar to those experienced by ASR XL patients, including high levels of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream, which can destroy soft tissue, and cause cardiovascular and renal problems.

Approximately 150,000 patients received a Pinnacle hip implant before it was was removed from the market.

DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit

In 2016, two large awards were handed out for patients in their DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits. In one, a jury in Texas ordered DePuy to pay more than $1 billion to a group of six patients, who claimed they suffered injuries as a result of their DePuy Pinnacle implant. That same year, another Texas jury awarded almost $500 million to five plaintiffs in their Pinnacle lawsuit.

As of March 15, 2017, 8,875 lawsuits are consolidated for pretrial proceedings in MDL 2244. Among claims made in each Pinnacle lawsuit is that DePuy Orthopaedics failed to warn patients and the medical community about the risks associated with the Depuy Pinnacle hip replacement device.

Symptoms of Device Failure

Symptoms of a hip replacement failure include:

  • Persistent pain
  • Noise (including clicking, squeaking, or grinding) in the joint
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Dislocation
  • Loosening in the hip
  • Limited mobility

Symptoms of metallosis include:

  • Rash
  • Neurological changes
  • Psychological changes
  • Thyroid issues
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Fatigue

If you or someone you love has had a metal-on-metal hip implant and experiences these symptoms, contact a doctor to determine your medical options.

DePuy Hip Lawyer

Patients who suffered injuries, including metallosis and early failure, may be eligible to file a hip replacement lawsuit against DePuy Orthopaedics. We are committed to fighting for patients who were harmed by defective medical devices. Contact us for a free consultation. We are happy to discuss your legal options and answer your questions.