Hip implant maker was aware of 40% failure rate

An internal analysis conducted by Johnson & Johnson in 2011 not long after it recalled a troubled hip implant estimated that the all-metal device would fail within five years in nearly 40 percent of patients who received it, newly disclosed court records show.

Johnson & Johnson never released those projections for the device, the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R., which the company recalled in mid-2010. But at the same time that the medical products giant was performing that analysis, it was publicly playing down similar findings from a British implant registry about the device’s early failure rate.

Some folks call that kind of lying “fraud”.

The company’s analysis also suggests that the implant is likely to fail prematurely over the next few years in thousands more patients in addition to those who have already had painful and costly procedures to replace it…

The A.S.R. belonged to a once-popular class of hip implants in which a device’s cup and ball component were both made of metal. While the A.S.R. was the most failure-prone of those implants, surgeons have largely abandoned using such devices in standard hip replacement because their components can grind together, releasing metallic debris that damages a patient’s tissue and bone…

About 7,000 of the A.S.R. lawsuits have been consolidated in a federal court in Ohio. An additional 2,000 cases have been consolidated in a California state court. The California case chosen to go to trial this week was selected because the plaintiff, a man named Loren Kransky, has cancer and may not live much longer, lawyers involved in the case said. DePuy has already settled a few A.S.R. cases before trial and it may choose to do so in Mr. Kransky’s case as well.

About 93,000 patients worldwide received an A.S.R., about one-third of them in the United States…

Aside from the class action liability – which I hope results in suitable replacement, compensation to patients and penalties exacted from Johnson and Johnson – I hope there is concerted action from the government to penalize J&J for the fraud committed by continued lies about the durability of the device if not an equal fraud in getting it approved for implant in the first place.

That should includes fines. That should include prison time for those who made each decision to lie to the government, the medical community and to patients.

2 thoughts on “Hip implant maker was aware of 40% failure rate

  1. Amused says:

    I work in medical malpractice defense, and this isn’t shocking to me at all. People close to the industry know that the life of a hip replacement is quite short, particularly in a patient who is young and active. In fact, most lay people would be surprised at the low success rate and horrendous complications of some of the most “routine” critical care procedures. CPR? Successfully revives a patient only about 8% of the time (but the likelihood of having one’s ribs broken is far, far greater). Mechanical ventilation? Pure hell, even if it works.

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