It has been reported that in August, Stryker Corp. reached out to physicians and surgeons with regard to advanced and early wear associated with its V40 Taper when employed with some chromium heads. The implants affected include – among others – The Stryker Accolade Rejuvenate system.
Such hip replacement implant failure relates to the use of metal-on-metal implants, or implants with increased employment of metallic parts originally intended to provide greater wear and lifespan profiles, but in reality have been seen to fail early due to metallurgic toxicity (metal ions released through friction between metal components and absorbed into the bloodstream), inflammation of surrounding tissue, or loosening of components which threatens a patient’s stability and mobility.
Many a defective hip implant lawsuit has alleged defects and fraud based on implants expected to last upwards of 15 years, but seen to fail in a matter of months, in some cases.
And then there is the DePuy hip replacement lawsuit that made headlines in early December when a federal jury in Texas found DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. – a unit of Johnson & Johnson – liable for more than $1 billion in a bellwether lawsuit involving six plaintiffs.
Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics have appealed that verdict, in spite of allegations that J&J and DePuy knew about the problem with wear and metallic debris associated with its Pinnacle and Ultamet products, but continued to market and promote the products as safe and effective.
At trial, J&J and DePuy countered that patients either might have had unique, hypersensitive reactions to the implants, or that surgeons may have positioned the implants incorrectly, leading to early failure and excessive wear.
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But there’s another development that appeared late last year that suggests a seismic shift in the DePuy MDL in the months, and years to come: the urging by US District Judge Ed Kinkeade to both parties in the dispute to appoint an attorney whose task would be to leverage potential discussions of settlement with an eye towards winding down the DePuy MDL altogether.
Plaintiffs in the 6,000-plus cases currently in the DePuy MDL pipeline would be watching that potential development with interest. The MDL is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3:11-md-02244, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.