According to Bloomberg Businessweek (8/21/12), Johnson & Johnson faces approximately 8,000 lawsuits linked to the recalled DePuy device. The $600,000 settlement affects only three lawsuits, working out to around $200,000 a suit. Those lawsuits were scheduled to reach the courts later this year.
In 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled around 93,000 ASR hip replacement devices worldwide because of early failure rates linked to the devices. According to reports, more than 12 percent of the DePuy devices failed within five years. Typically, such hip replacement devices are expected to last 15 years or more. Plaintiffs allege when their replacement devices fail, they suffer terrible pain and joint dislocations. Some patients undergo revision surgery to have the device replaced, but such surgery is complex and can come with more serious complications than the original procedure.
The main issue with the ASR devices was that metal debris from the metal-on-metal hips could come loose and become absorbed by the patient's tissue resulting in toxic levels of cobalt and chromium in the patient's blood, a condition known as metallosis. Furthermore, the metal ions could cause tissue death, resulting in the hip implant device failing too soon.
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Meanwhile, more lawsuits have been filed against Stryker Orthopaedics, alleging the company manufactured and sold a defective hip-replacement device. According to The Record (9/11/12), seven more lawsuits have been filed against the device maker, alleging the company was negligent in its sale of the Stryker Rejuvenate. The Rejuvenate was voluntarily recalled in July 2012. Stryker has not commented on the lawsuits. Some patients who received the devices reportedly developed infections, metal toxicity and device dislocations. In some cases, revision surgery was needed to correct the problem.