Evidence of defective hip implants grows

Some of the first DePuy hip implant cases are going to trial and mounting evidence shows that device maker Johnson & Johnson hid information regarding the dangerousness of these defective medical devices.

Documents disclosed during the DePuy hip implant trial reveal that executives from Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit were aware of a critical design flaw in J&J’s hip implants but kept selling the devices anyway. Lawyers say that the company callously sought to clear its inventories without regard to patient safety.

Traditional hip implants are made with both metal and plastic pieces. DePuy’s Articular Surface Replacement, or ASR, is made of both a metal cup and ball. The New York Times reports that a design flaw in this device can cause it to shed substantial amounts of metal and fail prematurely.

Patients have been found with large amounts of metal ions in their blood and tissue decay from the ASR’s metal debris. Some patients have had to undergo corrective surgeries and others are left permanently disabled.

DePuy’s ASR hip implants are one of the largest medical device failures in recent memory. An internal analysis from the company found that the hip implant’s failure rate is nearly eight times that of traditional hip implants. Normal hip implants have about a five percent failure rate within five years, whereas all-metal implants have about a 40 percent five-year failure rate. This means that thousands of more people will experience premature DePuy hip implant failures in the coming years.