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DePuy Hip’s Million Dollar Surgeons “Taking Share of Business”

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In a recent DePuy Hips trial, the jury was shown records of orthopedic surgeons’ royalty payments, AKA kickbacks.

Dallas, TXIn a recent hip replacement trial, plaintiffs’ lawyer showed to the jury records whereby DePuy paid its Pinnacle hip "design surgeons" more than $184 million in royalties that he argued were kickbacks. And jurors watched a video of a 2008 DePuy sales conference themed “Taking Share of Business”. To the lyrics of “Takin’ Care of Business” by the rock group Bachman-Turner Overdrive, DePuy’s former top marketer leads a parade with costumed alligators, a bloodied man with a hatchet and a giant metal hip implant. The plaintiffs won.

Depuy Pinnacle Lawsuit

A federal jury in Dallas ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay $247 million to the plaintiffs, according to Reuters. It is the third win of four test trials in Dallas federal court, where about 9,000 of the cases are pending. (J&J won the first –and only--Pinnacle test trial in 2014). Attorneys Mark Lanier and Jayne Conroy represented six New York residents implanted with the hip devices who alleged tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries due to design flaws in their DePuy Pinnacle hip replacements. Lanier also represented plaintiffs in the Pinnacle trial that ended in late 2016 where J&J was ordered to pay more than $1 billion to patients who claimed the company hid flaws in its Pinnacle artificial hips that had to be surgically removed.

Lanier told ABC7 News that, “the DePuy, Johnson & Johnson Pinnacle metal-on-metal was never tested in one single human being before they started selling it… the company basically made guinea pigs out of everyone who received it." The jury found the companies negligently designed, sold and fraudulently marketed the allegedly defective hip implants, concealed the implant's potential risks, and failed to adequately warn doctors.

Million Dollar Surgeons

But some of those doctors were more than adequately paid. During the trial, Lanier showed jurors
records of royalty payments from DePuy to 11 orthopedic design surgeons on the Pinnacle hip system ranging from $2 million and up to $44 million. Lanier had two banker's boxes of spreadsheets of the payments they've been making to doctors. According to Eyewitness News, Lanier told the jury at trial how DePuy used surgeons as marketers and their royalty payments amounted to kickbacks because design surgeons are paid a percentage of nearly every one sold. DePuy argued there is nothing wrong about paying design surgeons for their intellectual property and design know-how.

Lanier countered by telling the jury that DePuy gave an unethical incentive for those surgeons to help sell the implants by writing positive articles in medical journals, giving speeches to other surgeons and training medical residents on the use of the hip implants. Failure to warn other doctors wasn’t in the equation.

READ ABOUT DEFECTIVE HIP IMPLANT LAWSUITS

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