The first trials involving lawsuits filed against DePuy Orthopaedics by recipients of its recalled ASR Hip Implants will begin later this year, and early next year. The first is slated to start on December 3, 2012 in state court in Las Vegas, Nevada. A second DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in Maryland State Court in January, 2013. The two are among the thousands of product liability filed by patients implanted with the metal-on-metal hip implants, following the worldwide August 20101 DePuy ASR Hip Implant recall.
DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the ASR XL Acetabular Hip Implant and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System were recalled 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.
The bulk of the DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits that have been filed by U.S. plaintiffs are pending in a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. The lawsuits scheduled to come to trial later this year and in early January are among 10 that have been allowed to remain in state courts. A total of three state lawsuits are pending in Nevada, three in Maryland, two in Florida, one in Wisconsin and one in Utah.
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. 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.
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.