In an especially damaging bit of testimony, a surgeon in Montana testified this week that he stopped using the DePuy ASR metal hip implant devices months before the company officially issued its nationwide recall because he was warned about issues with the device by a concerned sales rep.
The doctor, Peter Wendt, testified in the crucially important first DePuy ASR hip case to be brought to trial after problems surfaced regarding the safety of the all-metal implant devices. The case of Loren Kransky is the first of some 10,000 already filed to make its way in front of a jury and is seen by many as an important test for how large the litigation against Johnson & Johnson might become.
The doctor said that he implanted some 76 of the ASR devices but stopped once a sales rep he trusted said there were problems with the implant and that the company would be pulling it off the market. Prior to that day, Wendt says J&J never warned him about any problems associated with the device. He also said he never knew that the company had attempted to redesign the product to prevent problems that had been reported. Had he known, he says he never would’ve recommended the implant to patients. He said he only recommended the product because the company informed him it was successful in 98 percent of patients, a number since shown to be woefully exaggerated.
When the recall was first announced several years ago, J&J said the revision rate, the percentage of surgeries that had to be redone thanks to implant failures, was 12 percent. A recent study out of Australia indicated that the failure rate for the device is greater than 40 percent.
The trial has also revealed that a group was formed back in 2005 to consider redesigning the ASR hip implant. The engineers with DePuy had discovered that there were more problems associated with the device than they anticipated and that questions were starting to be asked about possible metal toxicity that occurred as the parts began to wear out from rubbing against each other.
Experts believe that the case, which involved the recall of 93,000 DePuy ASR implants, could end up costing Johnson & Johnson easily over a billion dollars. For the 500,000 Americans and more than 1,000,000 people around the world with metal hip implants, the verdict in the Kransky case will be closely watched. If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “J&J Sales Rep Told Surgeon of Hip Problems, Jury Told,” by Maurice Possley, published at Bloomberg.com.
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