DePuy Orthopaedics manufactures and sells orthopedic devices and supplies such as artificial hips and knees. Founded in 1895, the company is headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana, and is a subsidiary of health giant Johnson & Johnson (which purchased DePuy in 1998).

Recall makes DePuy a household name

Although the company has a long history, DePuy perhaps made its biggest splash when it issued a global recall of two hip replacement devices in August 2010. The ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System were recalled after data revealed that the devices fail prematurely in 1 out of 8 recipients. With approximately 93,000 patients worldwide having received an ASR device, the recall has led to slew of lawsuits filed by those who were injured by and suffered losses from one of the defective DePuy hips. A common claim among the lawsuits filed is that DePuy knew of problems with the ASR hips yet delayed in issuing a recall. This is a serious claim, but one that evidence appears to support.

Australian recall/British data

In December 2009, a full eight months before it issued a worldwide ASR recall, DePuy pulled the devices off of the Australian market. Dr. Stephen Graves, the Director of the National Joint Replacement Registry in Australia, which had been accumulating adverse data about the ASR systems for years, said in response to the August recall, “It is a complete untruth that DePuy did not have reason to withdraw the ASR before now; we have been telling them since 2007, but they allowed it to be used on thousands of people.” In March 2010, DePuy finally acknowledged that the Australian data indicated a higher-than-normal failure rate. But it wasn’t until similar data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales surfaced that DePuy finally admitted fault and issued a recall.

American complaints

Long before this overseas data surfaced, however, there was evidence from the United States that pointed to the need for an ASR recall. Between 2008 and the time the recall was issued, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received hundreds of complaints from ASR recipients, many of whom needed to have a second hip replacement surgery. It’s hard to ignore the reports of problematic ASR units that surfaced here in the United States and abroad. With lawsuits piling up worldwide, it seems that exactly what DePuy knew about the safety of its products, and when it knew it, is a matter to be decided by the courts.

Related DePuy ASR Articles

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Published November 17, 2011 by