This past December 2010, the New York Times reported that Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy A.S.R. hip implants have been “failing worldwide at unusually high rates after just a few years.”Despite being promoted as a breakthrough in hip replacements, the faulty DePuy A.S.R. (which stands for Articular Surface Replacement) is now being called “one of the most troubled orthopedic implants of the past decade.”
Although evidence of the defective A.S.R. hip implant had been mounting for years, DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson and the world’s leading manufacturer of hip implants, has continued to claim that there were no problems with the troubled A.S.R.
For years, the company had steadfastly stood behind the controversial A.S.R. hip replacement. Last year, however, amid continuing reports that the A.S.R. was failing at a much higher rate than other manufacturers’ implants, DePuy finally recalled the troubled hip replacement.
DePuy now blames the A.S.R. recall on declining sales figures, even though the implant company continues to receive numerous reports from surgeons that the A.S.R. hip implant is faulty.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the Director of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, believes that the problematic DePuy A.S.R. was never properly approved by the Food and Drug Administration before being used in patients. He has stated that DePuy was “basically testing these devices in an uncontrolled way on a large number of people.”
The New York Times reported that “DePuy officials cannot say how many patients in this country received an A.S.R. because the company . . . does not track such implants.” The Times found that DePuy “sold two versions of the A.S.R. hip, one that the F.D.A. never cleared for sale in the United States and one that it did.”
DePuy defended its recall of the faulty A.S.R. hip implant, stating that it believed it was making “the appropriate decision to recall at the appropriate time given the available information.” DePuy’s explanation is questionable, however, given the fact that reports of the A.S.R. hip implant’s exaggerated rate of failure have been surfacing since 2008.
However, it is difficult to know for sure how many patients received the faulty A.S.R. hip implant because DePuy does not track them. Although patients complain, without a tracking system, doctors cannot prove how much harm these defective hip implants are doing. The Times reported that “doctors who tried to sound an alert said they had been rebuffed by DePuy.”
Despite the lack of a tracking system in the United States, DePuy’s faulty A.S.R. hip implant has been tracked in Australia. Dr. Stephen Graves, the director of Australia’s orthopedic registry, has stated:
“J. & J. has a major issue with DePuy. When it is clear to the orthopedic community that a company has not been honest, that is a problem.”
The Australian registry reveals that the defective A.S.R. hip implant has been failing at a high rate since 2008.
Patients who have received the faulty A.S.R. hip implant are likely to experience serious pain due to the implant loosening. These patients will remain on pain medication, sometimes for years, and will eventually need a revision surgery to replace the defective hip implant. As time goes on, the faulty device can shed tiny metallic particles, and some patients may become permanently disabled due to bone, muscle or nerve damage.
A faulty hip implant can cause all sorts of unexpected and unpredictable problems. If not treated properly and handled soon enough, patients may not have the option of a revision surgery.
If you or a loved one have undergone hip replacement surgery and are continuing to suffer from pain, contact our offices today. Our attorneys specialize in getting patients the relief they’re entitled to.
For over a decade, we have won cases involving defective hip implants. Whether you received a faulty DePuy A.S.R. hip implant, a defective implant from a different company, or you are unsure, contact our offices today to find out how we can help you. All consultations are free.