More DePuy ASR Hip Implant Victims Seek Legal Recourse

At least four more lawsuits have been filed over recalled<""> DePuy ASR Acetabular Hip Replacement Systems. In all of the cases, plaintiffs say their DePuy ASR hip implant failed prematurely.

The DePuy ASR Acetabular Hip Replacement System was recalled last August, after data from a registry in the United Kingdom indicated a failure rate of 12 percent within five years of implantation. Since that recall, at least 1,000 DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits have been filed by victims of the device in federal and state courts around the country. Hundreds of such claims have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Three of the new DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits were filed in the Northern District of Ohio, while the fourth was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics subsidiary are named as defendants.

A metal-on-metal device made of chromium and cobalt, the DePuy ASR Hip Implant System consists of a cup implanted into the hip with a ball joint that connects to the leg. According to a report published by The New York Times in March 2010, metal-on-metal hip implants have been used in about one-third of the approximately 250,000 hip replacements performed annually in this country. However, many of the nation’s leading orthopedic surgeons have reduced or stopped use of these devices because of concerns that they can cause severe tissue and bone damage.

It is believed that many of the complications linked to the DePuy ASR implant and similar metal-on-metal devices are caused by wearing of their metal components, which can allow metal shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams, leading to tissue breakdown, bone loss, and even the formation of non-cancerous tumors, and even cobalt poisoning. Many victims of the DePuy ASR hip implant have been found to have elevated metal ion levels in their blood. Many of these victims could face long term health problems if their metal poisoning is left untreated.

Since the DePuy ASR hip implant recall, metal-on-metal hip implants have fallen under greater scrutiny. Just yesterday, for example, we reported that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) asked DePuy Orthopaedics and 20 other manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants to conduct safety studies aimed at determining if these devices are shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients. They have also been told to determine how often their metal-on-metal hip implants fail prematurely. According to an FDA official who spoke with The New York Times, the agency had determined that there were “significant enough medical concerns to warrant a broad review of metal-on-metal hips.”

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