DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Implant Lawsuits Likely to Be Consolidated

Lawsuits involving <"">DePuy Orthopaedics’ recalled ASR XL Acetabular Hip Implant System will likely be consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL). DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement plaintiffs requested the consolidation, and defendants in the DePuy lawsuits have not filed any objections.

A hearing on the matter was held on November 18, 2010 before the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Various venues are under consideration for the <"">DePuy hip replacement recall litigation (MDL-2197), including New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois.

A consolidation would allow all DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated, each retains its own identity. If the MDL process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.

In August, DePuy issued a worldwide recall of the ASR XL Acetabular System, a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, a partial hip replacement that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur. The recall was issued after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the recalled devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. A hip implant should last for 15 years or so.

DePuy was already phasing out the ASR hip implant system when it finally acknowledged in March 2010 that the device was prone to early failure. By that time, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had received hundreds of reports describing premature failure of the DePuy ASR hip implant system. Still, it would be months before the DePuy ASR hip implant system was finally recalled.

Since it was introduced in 2003, DePuy has sold nearly 100,000 units of its ASR XL Acetabular Hip System, which was designed for younger and more active patients. A metal-on-metal hip implant made of chromium and cobalt, the device consists of a cup that’s implanted into the hip with a ball joint that connects to the leg. It is believed that many of the complications linked to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implant are caused by wearing of the metal components, which can allow metal shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams.

According to a report by ABC News, the resulting metal poisoning could increase the risk of a number of heath problems, including dementia and heart failure. DePuy now recommends that implant patients have a blood test to check for high levels of chromium and cobalt.

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