As Medical Device Investigation Reveals Oversight in Europe, DePuy Hip Lawsuits Move Forward in U.S.
With more than 6,000 DePuy hip recall lawsuits pending in courts around the U.S., one would hope the federal agencies here and in Europe are working to implement a more rigorous testing process for approving new hip implants.
However, a recent investigation by the Daily Telegraph and the British Medical Journal suggests that is not the case.
As part of the investigation released on Oct. 29, an undercover team for the publications designed a metal-on-metal hip implant similar to the DePuy ASR hip replacement, which was recalled in Aug. 2010 by DePuy Orthopaedics. They submitted the total hip for approval to 14 certification agencies in Europe, and, even though test results revealed high levels of metal toxicity in the body, it received market approval.
This information is especially troubling given the staggering amount of complaints that have been filed over these medical devices in recent years. From 2000-2011 for example, it is estimated that the FDA received 17,000 adverse event reports of metallosis (metal ion poisoning), early implant failure, and other complications stemming from the metal-on-metal hips.
In New Jersey Superior Court, DePuy hip recall lawsuits are moving forward. An Oct. 13 report in MassDevice.com stated that attorneys for both sides have been ordered to select three DePuy hip lawsuits pending in the state and designate them as possible candidates for trials within the month. The first bellwether trials for the New Jersey DePuy ASR litigation are scheduled to begin Sept. 9, 2013 and Oct. 21, 2013.
At the federal court level, more than 4,000 lawsuits are awaiting trial in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. For this multidistrict ligation, the bellwether trials have also been scheduled. The first is slated for May 6, 2013, with the second to follow on July 8, 2013.