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DePuy ASR Hip Implant

On August 26, 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, finally announced a formal recall of its ASR hip implant device, an untested and flawed hip replacement product that had been implanted in over 93,000 people. This recall came after years of pressure from suffering patients, concerned physicians and hospitals, and pressure mounting from the United States government another other countries abroad.

The ASR hip replacement was implanted in people between 2005-2009, and was heavily marketed as the best alternative for active people and those in search of the most trouble-free product for their hip problems. Certain doctors were heavily compensated to push the product to other doctors and hospitals, receiving in some cases millions of dollars and being treated like rock stars. DePuy made a ton of money during this period. The cash rolled in, but people were suffering. Now, the time has come for DePuy to be held responsible for their shocking choice to put profits over people in the highly competitive and lucrative joint replacement business.

Originally DePuy told the public they were recalling the product because perhaps 14-14% of the implants were “failing” way too quickly, causing terrible problems to the people who trusted them and their doctors. A more recent study puts the failure rate at a much higher figure, a staggering 49% failure rate!

A “revisionary surgery” to take out the old ASR hip replacement is required for those who can’t stand the problems any more, or whose health has been so jeopardized they have no choice. This is yet another life-threatening significant joint replacement surgery, at a minimum, caused by DePuy’s choice to put profits over people.

The problems people have been having include pain, swelling, cup loosening, audible popping and difficulty walking. The Cochran Firm has many clients who have undergone these problems. The ASR defect is caused by a faulty metal-on-metal design, which leads to grinding between the ball and cup, made from forged cobalt chrome. Metal “debris” is known to occur as the ball and cup grind against each other, which then gets into the blood and tissues surrounding the joint, getting into the organs, and in many cases causing cysts to form.

Bones can start to demineralize, and metallosis, a wasting of tissues and bones from the effect of chromium and cobalt into the body, can occur. This is a frightening potential problem, because the bones need to be strong enough for the surgery taking the defective ASR hip replacement out and to replant the “corrective” replacement thereafter. If the bones become too brittle, the ability to walk again could be lost. All because of DePuy’s choices to put profits over people.

Our clients limp into the office, broken people, angry over the breach of trust that has occurred, puzzled about how this can happen in America, hoping they won’t get cancer or never walk properly again, a dilemma we can solve, but a challenge in the courthouse we’re ready for.

We are handling each case individually, because every DePuy ASR client has their own troubled journey which led them to The Cochran Firm. Our clients know we are all trial lawyers here, and like Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. demanded each case requires “preparation, preparation, preparation.” Our clients are not just one of a massive group of clients at our firm. Instead, we work with the best experts, consult with other leading attorneys to remain as knowledgeable as any lawyer about these cases, and we will work as hard and expertly as any lawyer there is on such cases.

Our partners Joseph M. Barrett and Randy McMurray have been leaders in the field of product liability and medical product defect for decades. They are recognized as Super Lawyers for their expertise. Both are acclaimed trial lawyers, and leaders in California law. Frequent authors and lecturers on trial technique and litigation, these gentlemen lead a team of attorneys who are devoted to the DePuy cases. We welcome your case.

We are also investigating other metal-on-metal hip cases. DePuy also markets and still implants a hip replacement device called the Pinnacle. The FDA has never approved DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implant for use as a metal-on-metal implant. DePuy, like the ASR story, found a loophole in FDA regulations that have allowed it to sell the Pinnacle to doctors and hospitals without conducting clinical trials proving its safety.

Like the ASR hip implant, the Pinnacle is now the subject of a huge amount o0f complaints, which people report to the FDA as “adverse events.” Hundreds have complained, and it appears the Pinnacle suffers from the same flaws as the ASR, though this is still under investigation. One client of ours who had as her surgeon Dr. Thomas Schmalzsreid, one of the doctors who made millions working with DePuy marketing the ASR implant, had her ASR implant removed and Dr. Schmalzsreid implanted a Pinnacle in its place. We are greatly concerned about this and hope she continues to improve. Nonetheless, the question remains: is the Pinnacle another ticking time bomb within her as was the ASR?

The FDA has not yet called for a recall of the Pinnacle, but it moves slowly. It took years for the pressure to build to a sufficient level where the ASR was finally recalled in August 2010. We are monitoring the metal-on-metal (MoM) cases and look forward to participating through the courthouses on your behalf making medical companies behave more responsibly, with safety as the primary focus, not money. Making money is cool, we all want to do it, but when it comes to making products that will go into people’s bodies, they better be safe. They better be tested. Or the Cochran Firm will be there to hold those corporations accountable. Economic justice awaits our DePuy clients. These are great cases. Let us be your lawyers.

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