DePuy Orthopaedics Execs Ordered To Testify In ASR Hip Implant Lawsuits

Executives from DePuy Orthopaedics have been ordered to testify in ASR hip implant lawsuits. DePuy is a unit of health care giant, Johnson & Johnson.

The eight former and current DePuy executives must testify in the multi-district litigation concerning the recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants, said Mass Device.

According to court documents, the following executives are expected to be deposed: Tom Camino, DePuy’s worldwide hip development director; manager of clinical research, Rodrigo Diaz; DePuy Int’l. Ltd. international hip business marketing director of marketing, Paul Kurring; Matt Reimink, manager of development; Mary Stewart of DePuy International Ltd.’s R&D unit; and the director of biostatistics & data management Paul Voorhorst, wrote Mass Device.

As we’ve long explained, DePuy recalled its ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR Acetabular System 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 devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years. A total of 93,000 implants were sold worldwide, including 37,000 in the U.S.

The first DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuit was filed a few months before the recall was issued, in June 2010, by a Florida woman, according to a prior Mass Device report. Days later, three California lawsuits were filed. Since, the DePuy ASR hip replacement device has been named in some 8,000 product liability claims, with more lawsuits being filed nearly daily.

Complaints allege that the metal-on-metal hip replacements can shed dangerous amounts of chromium and cobalt into patients’ bloodstreams, leading to a number of serious health problems, including pain, swelling, and dislocation, as well as metallosis, a reaction that results in tissue and bone loss; the formation of pseudotumors; and long-term heart, kidney, nerve, and thyroid problems.

Some 6,000 claims have been consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation before the Honorable Judge David Katz in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. The first bellwether trials in that litigation are scheduled to start on May 6, 2013 and July 8, 2013. Meanwhile, another 2,000 complaints are pending in various state courts around the country.

Earlier this month, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle three Nevada state claims for a total of $600,000. An expert interviewed by Bloomberg News asserted that the settlements were at the low end of what plaintiffs could expect, and speculated that most settlements will range from $200,000 to $500,000 per plaintiff.

Johnson & Johnson disclosed in January that it had set aside $800 million to cover legal issues associated with the DePuy ASR hip implant. Many legal observers believe, however, that the company could end up paying as much as $2 billion to resolve the lawsuits.

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