Several patients who have experienced complications from the failure of hip implants that was manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopedics decided to file lawsuits against the said company, news reports say. The possible sum that Johnson & Johnson might pay in settlements may rise up to $4 billion as compensation for the recalled all-metal hip replacement promoted and sold by DePuy, according to the New York Times article. Medical device makers have not had this large of an amount to pay for product liability claims. This news on the possible settlement of Johnson & Johnson is giving new hope to plaintiffs.
The ASR Hip Replacement System from DePuy Orthopedics were thought to be better than previous designs as it is made of metal. It may be more durable than previous designs because it has lesser wear and tear. However, the manufacturer was plagued with complaints from patients that the device has failed and also made them develop metal toxicity. The wear and tear of the prosthesis will result to the release of metal ions in the blood which may even result to metal toxicity. Studies are being conducted to know the possible adverse effects of chromium and cobalt ions.
In 2010, DePuy recalled this type of implant as it was associated with an exceptionally high failure rate. About 93,000 hip implants were recalled. These problems connected to the failed hip implants might lead to a hip revision surgery, although the secondary surgery is more complicated and might not be as successful as the primary operation. This massive settlement from Johnson & Johnson may include plaintiffs from different states. Around $300,000 or more might be expected to be received by plaintiffs, according to an article from the Bloomberg Businessweek.
An agreement needs to be signed by eligible plaintiffs to claim the settlement. There still might be a second round of settlements because there are some plaintiffs that are awaiting for a possible hip revision. After the recall was started by DePuy, the company also offered payment for the medical costs of the hip replacement operation. Through this settlement, more lawsuits will be resolved in a short amount of time. Revision surgery due to hip implant failure may be more complicated and some have opted to find other means to alleviate their pain.