DePuy Orthopaedics is a division of the healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson, which has manufactured hundreds of medical devices, including a number of artificial hip joint products used for hip replacement procedures. While most hip replacement procedures can provide relief of pain and restoration of mobility, some patients who receive DePuy artificial hip implants may experience serious complications.
DePuy and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson have faced thousands of lawsuits filed by patients who were injured or experienced serious complications after a hip replacement surgery. Devices that have been particularly troublesome and resulted in thousands of DePuy Hip Replacement lawsuits include:
- DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement System
- DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System
- DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System
DePuy Hip Replacement Complications
The DePuy Pinnacle hip device was introduced in 2002 and was created with metal-on-metal (MoM) construction. It was intended to reduce “wear and tear” to be more durable and long-lasting than other devices. The DePuy ASR hip system devices including the ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems were created in 2005, using the same type of MoM construction.
Like many MoM devices, they were approved under an FDA shortcut pathway, known as 510(k), which allows manufacturers to introduce products without having tested them on human patients. They are allowed to market the products based on a claim that they are similar to other products already on the market.
Unfortunately, with MoM hip implant products, many patients have suffered serious complications that can occur when metal surfaces are allowed to grate against one another. Friction and contact can result in shedding of metal fragments into joint tissue and can result in metal ions entering the bloodstream to cause an immune reaction.
Symptoms of serious side effects or complications from DePuy Hip Replacement devices may include:
- Hip pain and inflammation
- Infection of hip joint
- Bone fracture
- Joint bone dissolution
- Dislocation and loss of mobility
- Immune reaction with flu symptoms
Patients who experience complications due to a DePuy hip device will often require hip revision surgery to remove and replace a defective device, and to repair or reconstruct damaged joint tissue.
DePuy ASR and Pinnacle Hip Implants Recalled or Discontinued
Though official data reports show that 12% of DePuy MoM patients experience early failure, other estimates suggest the number may be up to 40% of all cases. By 2009, DePuy had been subject to multiple warnings regarding early failure in numerous countries outside of the U.S. and the ASR devices were subject to recall and discontinuation in 2010.
Despite the known problems with the ASR devices, the Pinnacle device was not withdrawn from the market until 2013 but the company did not issue a recall, they simply stopped manufacturing the device. This may have placed additional patients at risk as implants already in stock in hospitals and facilities may have been used until supplies were exhausted.
DePuy Hip Replacement Settlements
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have faced more than 11,000 ASR lawsuits and more than 10,000 Pinnacle lawsuits. DePuy began offering hip replacement lawsuit settlements after losing the first bellwether trial cases in 2013. DePuy hip settlements and verdicts have thus far totaled about $6.2 billion.
Federal ASR and Pinnacle lawsuits were consolidated into two, separate multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases. DePuy initially stated they had set aside $2.5 billion for ASR device claims at approximately $250 thousand per claim but expected that numbers would higher with additional cases in state and local courts. In November 2013, DePuy agreed to settle 8,000 ASR claims for about $4 Billion and in March 2015, settled an additional 1,800 for $420 million.
Pinnacle settlements began in December of 2018, after J&J lost multiple jury trials, forcing the company to pay $1.7 billion to three victims in Texas federal courts. The December announcement has Johnson & Johnson offering to pay $400 million to settle about 3,300 cases or about one-third of the ten thousand federal lawsuit claims.
J&J has also agreed to pay $120 million to 46 state agencies over concerns about misleading marketing claims for DePuy hip products. Estimates show that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson may still be facing nearly 2,000 ASR lawsuits in Ohio and several thousands of Pinnacle lawsuits which may be in the process of individual negotiations.