Smith & Nephew Defective Hip Implants
Smith & Nephew, a global medical technology company based in England, is facing lawsuits over some of its Birmingham Hip Replacement (BHR) and R3 metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. The lawsuits concern the alleged premature failure of Smith & Nephew's metal-on-metal hip implant devices, which can cause pain, limited mobility and the need for revision surgery and replacement.
Defective Hip Devices
Smith & Nephew has issued recalls on certain of its hip replacement implant systems due to high numbers of complaints about premature failure of certain models of its hip systems and the devices' metal-on-metal parts causing metal particles to release into the bloodstream and tissue.
Smith & Nephew Recalls
The recall was due to "a higher than anticipated complaint and adverse event trend," according to the recall safety notice issued by Smith & Nephew. In a letter sent to doctors about the recall, Smith & Nephew wrote that "metal-related adverse events" accounted for the highest category of complaints in both products.
According to the letter: "Smith & Nephew considers that patients implanted with the modular neck hip prostheses may be at greater risk of revision surgery than with comparable monolithic products."
The FDA also issued a recall of Smith & Nephew's Tandem Bipolar Hip System on Nov. 3, 2016 due to defective retainer grooves on some of the devices. In June 2012, Smith & Nephew recalled its R3 hip replacement implants due to high failure rates. Smith & Nephew took the BHR device off the market in June 2015 due to similar high failure rates.
Smith & Nephew Hip Implant Lawsuits
On April 5, 2017, the JPML in response issued an order transferring numerous lawsuits to the Maryland MDL but renamed the MDL Re: Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation because only cases that concern the BHR system (and not the R3) will be transferred to the MDL.
In January 2017, Linda Taylor of Texas, who received a Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip in 2007, filed a lawsuit Taylor et al v. Smith & Nephew, Case No. 2:17-cv-00038, US District Court for the Southern District of Texas for premature failure of her BHR hip implant. Taylor claimed in her lawsuit that she had a Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip implanted in 2007 but the device failed prematurely and she developed metallosis and had to undergo revision surgery. The lawsuit also alleged that Smith & Nephew failed to meet post-marketing surveillance and reporting requirements designed to make sure that the hip replacement system was safe and effective.
According to Smith & Nephew's 2016 Annual Report, the Smith & Nephew group recorded $203 million in administrative expenses "relating to anticipated and settled metal-on-metal hip claims" and additional expenses related to distribution costs for the RENASYS medical device.
According to the annual report, the Smith & Nephew group has estimated for 2017 a provision of $163 million relating to estimated costs to resolve "all other known and anticipated metal-on-metal hip claims."
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