A class action lawsuit filed in Australia over DePuy Orthopaedics’ recalled metal-on-metal ASR Hip Implants has signed up more than 1,000 plaintiffs. The attorneys representing the Australian ASR Hip Implant lawsuit plaintiffs recently told The Courier-Mail that damages in the lawsuit are expected to be worth more than $200 million.
One of the plaintiffs involved in the DePuy ASR Hip implant lawsuit, 47-year-old Stuart Cain, received the metal-on-metal hip implant in 2007. Since then, Johnson & Johnson has paid for Cain’s three replacement hip implant surgeries, the last one about a month ago. Mr. Cain told The Courier-Journal that he fears losing his house because he is unable to work.
Last year, an inquiry conducted in Australia’s Senate recommended the Federal Health Department consider the best way of establishing a process to monitor the health effects in all patients who have received metal-on-metal hip replacements. The Senator who launched the inquiry also wants to require doctors to notify patients with metal-on-metal implants about the importance of having yearly blood tests to monitor levels of cobalt, chromium and other toxic metals, the Courier-Journal said.
DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the ASR XL Acetabular Hip Implant and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System in August 2010 after data from a medical device registry in the U.K. indicated that they were failing in about 12 of patients within five years. At the time the devices were recalled, some 93,000 patients worldwide received one of the ASR models.
Since the DePuy ASR Hip Implant recall, concerns about the entire class of metal-on-metal hip implants have only grown. Last May, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) directed 21 companies that market all-metal hip replacements to conduct post-market studies of their products to determine if they were shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients. The FDA has since scheduled a meeting of its Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Panel for June 27 and 28 to discuss the risks and benefits of metal-on-metal hip systems, and make patient and practitioner recommendations for their use.
In March, authors of a study published in The Lancet said all-metal hip implants should no longer be used because of their high failure rates. In February, a report in the British Medical Journal raised fears that hundreds of thousands of people around the world may have been exposed to dangerously high levels of toxic metals from failing metal-on-metal hip implants.