Investigation Reveals That DePuy Knew Of Dangers Associated With Metal Hips In 2005
Bernstein Liebhard LLP examines the details revealed in an investigation conducted by the British Medical Journal (“BMJ”), which were published on February 28, 2012. Deborah Cohen, an investigations editor for BMJ, believes that a systemic failure is to blame. She writes, “Hundreds of thousands of patients around the world may have been exposed to toxic substances after being implanted with poorly regulated and potentially dangerous hip devices.” The investigation chronicles the history of metal-on-metal hips and identifies several instances demonstrating that DePuy knew of dangers associated with its implants as early as 2005. Particularly noteworthy is a July 2005 DePuy internal memo that says, “In addition to introducing potential changes in immune function, there has been concern for some time that wear debris may be carcinogenic.” According to the BMJ investigation, despite having knowledge of potential dangers associated with metal-on-metal hip implants, DePuy not only continued to aggressively market the hips, but went so far as to provide sales teams with a paper, entitled “Setting the record straight on metal hypersensitivity” in order to deter safety concerns.
DePuy Promotes An Alternative Metal-On-Metal Hip Device Following ASR Recall
In August 2010, after receiving data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who received its metal-on-metal ASR hip implants had to undergo revision surgery within five years of implant, DePuy issued a worldwide voluntary recall of all variations of the ASR hip implants. According to Cohen, following the ASR hip recall, DePuy promoted the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip systems “as an alternative for the majority of patients,” even though Japanese surgeons had contacted the Company about problems with the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip system in 2009. An internal DePuy email reveals that the surgeons reported seeing “generated metal debris between stem taper and head, and final necrosed tissue.” Moreover, in June 2010, BMJ reports that a senior DePuy executive sent an email discussing the metal-on-metal hip implants. The email states, “I feel the problem is emerging as more serious than first thought.”
In addition to suggesting that DePuy knew of the dangers associated with metal-on-metal hips, Cohen also places blame on regulatory bodies for failing to disclose safety concerns to doctors and patients. She writes, “Despite the fact that these risks have been known and well documented for decades, patients have been kept in the dark about their participation in what has effectively been a large uncontrolled experiment.”
The DePuy hip replacement lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are actively filing cases on behalf of individuals who have been implanted with either or both types of artificial metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy. The lawsuits allege that the ASR hip replacement and the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacement systems were defectively designed. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is filing cases in the following actions: In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2197”), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2244”), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
About Bernstein Liebhard LLP
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is a New York-based law firm exclusively representing injured persons in complex individual and class action lawsuits nationwide since 1993, including those who have been harmed by dangerous drugs, defective medical devices and consumer products. The firm has been named by The National Law Journal to the “Plaintiffs’ Hot List,” recognizing the top plaintiffs’ firms in the country, for the past nine consecutive years. Only two firms in the country have been selected for the Hot List nine years in a row.
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