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Free & Goss Attorneys

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DePuy Failure Rate may be Higher than Expected

[ Thursday, March 17, 2011 ]

A recent press release by the British Hip Society reported both higher than expected failure rates for the DePuy ASR XL® device, as well as other serious health concerns associated with the metal-on-metal hip replacement.  These results come on the heels of the annual British Hip Society Conference, and was co-authored by the presidents of the British Hip Society, British Orthopaedic Association, and the chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Metal Bearing Hips.

The release centers on the the excessive failure rate of the DePuy Device, previously reported by the FDA, the British MHRA, and the Australian Joint Registry.  While previous failure rates ranged from 10-40%, this new report puts the failure rate at 49% after six years, an unacceptable number by any standard.  While uncertainty remains whether the failures are a result of wear or corrosion, multiple aspects of the device may fail, including the bearing surface, stem, and the ‘Morse’ taper connecting head and stem.  Finally, the report touches on the growing concern over the potential for heavy metal poisoning, noting that oftentimes patients show elevated levels of blood cobalt and chromium.

DePuy recalled the device in July of 2010, and is facing thousands of lawsuits seeking compensation for damages ranging from heavy metal poisoning, to the mental, physical, and financial costs of revision surgery.  In anticipation of litigation and settlement, Johnson and Johnson has set aside almost $1 billion, and is currently looking for a new CEO to run DePuy.