Financial fallout of defective hip implants may cost billions

The Farber Law Group is engaged in representing several clients who have claims against DePuy Orthopedics, a division of the Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Our clients have suffered some serious injuries after they were implanted with defective metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy.

It was of great interest to our firm when we read today’s front page article in The Seattle Times entitled “Failing hip implants will cost billions to replace.” The article discusses at length the money that the failure of metal-on-metal hip implants will cost individuals, the manufacturers of the hip implant devices, the insurance companies, and taxpayers and contribute to the escalating cost of health care. According to The Times’ article, the medical costs to replace the faulty hip devices could be in the billions of dollars.

Thousands of patients who received the DePuy hip implant have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in hopes of receiving compensation for their damages which include medical costs, loss of wages and pain and suffering. Many patients have medical bills of up to a half million dollars. Medical costs are not the only financial hardship to patients. Many of the patients are younger and have been disabled or been prevented from working.

According to the article in The Times, a half million patients have received a metal-on-metal hip replacement. The DePuy ASR XL Acetabular and Hip Resurfacing Systems were recalled on August 24, 2010 after many patients suffered serious side effects and many required a second “revision” surgery to replace their device. Side effects included severe pain, fractures, dislocation, nerve damage and necrosis, or tissue death.

There is also a heightened concern that the metal-on-metal design of the DePuy artificial hips may cause metallosis, a condition in which the metal shavings from the device are shed into the surrounding tissue and cause inflammation. Some symptoms of metallosis include pseudo-tumors, premature tissue death and even cancer.

The DePuy hip implant devices were marketed to active and younger patients but they were brought to market using a “fast track” approval process under FDA rule 510 without the testing necessary to make sure they were safe. By 2008, the FDA received hundreds of complaints from patients who had serious problems with their implants. The devices were pulled from the market in Australia and France where patients there were requiring revision surgeries at an alarming level but DePuy continued to market and sell the product in the United States even though the evidence was mounting that the devices were defective.

DePuy has engaged a risk management company, Broadspire, to deal with patient’s medical claims. Broadspire has contacted patients with the defective hip and offering to pay co-payments and deductibles of patients requiring revision surgery. Broadspire asks patients to sign a Medical Release Form which allows the company to see a patient’s private medical records. The Farber Law Group recommends that patients not sign such a form until they receive sound advice from a product liability law firm.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of the Seattle product liability law firm, The Farber Law Group. Call us for answers to your questions about your DePuy hip implant device. We provide local representation to patients in the Pacific Northwest. We have a co-counsel relationship with a leading New York law firm in order to maximize your recovery.

Related Posts:

Is it time to revamp the FDA approval process of medical devices?

Australian journalist investigates DePuy metal hip

British orthopedics group estimates DePuy ASR hip implant failure may reach 49%

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Bellevue to assist you.