DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, announced today its agreement to pay an estimated $2.5 billion to settle several thousand lawsuits from patients injured by DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. After UK joint registry data indicated revision rates of 13% within only five years of implantation, DePuy recalled its ASR hip system on August 24, 2010. In January 2011, Judge David Katz entered an order to consolidate many of the cases into a federal multidistrict litigation.
Metal-on-metal hip implants like the DePuy ASR were designed to be more durable than traditional metal-on-polyethylene implants. Instead, thousands of patients implanted with the ASR experienced swelling, pain, joint dislocation, increased levels of metal ions in the blood, bone loss, and nerve and tissue damage. Such complications often led to a second surgery in which the failed hip was replaced. Some patients even reported heart, thyroid, and central nervous system damage.
Although this settlement aims to resolve a significant portion of the ASR litigation, Johnson & Johnson still faces several thousand lawsuits regarding the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant. Multidistrict litigations against other metal hip manufacturers—including Biomet, Zimmer, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, and Wright Medical—continue to move forward.
Patients with metal-on-metal hip implants should be aware of the following symptoms that may indicate their hip device is not functioning properly (which could necessitate a premature revision surgery):
- Swelling at or near the hip joint
- A limp or impairment in walking ability
- Noise (e.g., grinding, popping, clicking, or squeaking) from the hip joint
- Pain in the groin, hip, or leg
Andrews and Thornton encourages those who have been harmed by a metal-on-metal hip implant to contact us at www.andrewsthornton.com or toll free at 1-800-644-1734 for a free case evaluation.