Following a long litigation process, DePuy has agreed to a $2.5 billion settlement for its defective ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement and ASR hip resurfacing systems. Roughly 98 percent of those involved in a mass tort against the company will receive compensation, although those who underwent revision surgery after August 2013 are not included in this current settlement. Also, a small number of plaintiffs have opted out of the settlement and will continue to pursue compensation through the court system. Although the ASR hip implant system was recalled in August 2010, DuPuy has been accused of postponing the recall despite earlier evidence of faults in their ASR prostheses.
DePuy’s Hip Replacement Failure
A subsidiary of the multinational Johnson & Johnson, DePuy specializes in orthopedic and neurosurgical devices and products. Its $2.5 billion settlement is a partial solution to at least 12,000 lawsuits filed against the firm for their defective ASR hip replacement and hip resurfacing prostheses. Marketed to a younger demographic of patients seeking hip replacement solutions, the ASR features a wider range of movement. However, manufactured from a metal alloy, the metal-on-metal technology has experienced incessant problems and complications — readers may recall similar issues involving Stryker hip replacement devices.
An estimated one out of eight (1/8) patients who underwent a hip replacement or hip resurfacing procedure with a DePuy ASR have experienced failure associated with defects of the implant. Known problems include metallosis, which involves build-ups of metal debris left behind by the corroding and loosening metallic components of the hip implants, and adverse soft tissue reactions. Other complications include bone staining, necrosis, swelling, nerve and muscle damage, and component misalignment. In reference to the misalignment of the components, DePuy has accused surgeons of improperly implanting the acetabular cup of the hip implant, which is a hemispherical ball that fits into the hip socket. However, the company has more recently acknowledged that the cups of the ASR hip replacement devices are more difficult to properly place than competing systems.
Cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2005, DePuy was able to take the far less expensive route of filing a 510k Application of marketing clearance for their ASR hip replacement product. The 510k application does not require clinical trials, and its cost compares favorably to the price tag of the Permanent Application of Approval. DePuy’s hip resurfacing technology was not approved for use in the United States.
Whereas tested hip implants have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, many patients receiving the DePuy ASR were forced to undergo replacement surgeries soon after having the prostheses installed. Although DePuy ordered a recall in August 2010, the U.S.-headquartered firm has been reproached for not issuing the recall sooner knowing the relatively high rate of implant failure.
In an attempt to settle with individual litigants, DePuy has earmarked $2.5 billion for compensation. Settlements are starting at $250,000 at the individual level, although the exact figure depends on the severity of the ASR-related problems. Persons who suffered “extraordinary” personal injury are eligible for additional compensation. When factoring in the possibility of higher individual payouts, the total settlement package may rise to $4 billion. The ordeal has not yet ended; some estimates of the five-year replacement rate are as high as 40 percent, suggesting that additional litigation against the company will continue for some time.
Complimentary Faulty Hip Replacement Consultation with Pope McGlamry
Defective hip prostheses can cause the patient to suffer from a high level of pain and discomfort. Manufacturers of medical components owe their customers a certain standard of care and if they fail to take sufficient precaution they can be liable for injuries which result from their devices. If you have experienced complications as a result of a placed DePuy ASR hip replacement system, contact Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. to schedule your free case review and legal consultation with our knowledgeable and experienced legal team.