40% Failure of Hip Implants, 100% Failure in Integrity of Its Maker

In November 2010, I reported to you that total hip replacement implants made by Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary, DePuy, were failing at a high rate, not unlike a lot of other products that are marketed before being adequately tested. People who have gotten the DePuy ASR and the DePuy ASR XL prostheses are having to get another surgery to replace the defective implants at an alarming rate.

DePuy's unfortunate victims will experience a great deal of unnecessary pain to have the replacement surgery. Even after they have it, they may have other problems, because the metal on metal system as designed results in so much wear on the parts that small bits of the metal come off and remain in the person's joint or go to other parts of the body, causing potentially grave health problems.

It now turns out that in 2010, Johnson & Johnson did an analysis and found that its DePuy device would fail within 5 years in about 40% of patients who received it. It kept the information secret. The company's analysis also indicated that the implant will prematurely fail in thousands more patients within the next few years. The device is so bad that DePuy, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, is offering to pay for the surgical costs for replacement.

However, it is not paying for the pain and suffering of the replacement surgery and rehabilitation after it, or for the other problems caused by the metal particles that move throughout a patient's body. That's why thousands of patients have filed suits against Johnson & Johnson. As these suits progress, we will get more of the company's internal documents and take depositions of more of its engineers and executives. As we do, more light will shine on what its corporate executives knew about the implant's problems before it was recalled in mid-2010 and the actions they did or didn't take. 30,000 of these devices have been implanted in the U.S., many of them in the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama.

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