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J&J Hip Implant Product Liability Trial Continues

Medical device maker Johnson & Johnson is deep into a product liability trial over its defective DePuy ASR hip implants. These all-metal hip implants have extraordinarily high failure rates and it appears that J&J was aware that its implants were defectively designed long before the company announced a recall.

The current ASR case is one first of 10,000 DePuy lawsuits to go to trial according to Bloomberg News. Patients allege that the company failed to adequately test these all-metal hip implants before putting them on the market and then dragged its feet in recalling the defective medical devices.

Internal documents from J&J officials indicate that they decided to sell off their existing units even after they knew that these hip implants were harming patients. Former company employees are testifying that the company was focused on minimizing the amount of damaging information released to patients and maximizing its profits.

Thousands of more hip implants are expected to fail in the coming years, and the DePuy hip implant case is being called the largest medical device failure case in recent decades. The New York Times recently released an article claiming that all-metal hip implant failure rates can be almost 40 percent at five years. The typical failure rate for regular hip implants is 1 percent per year, or 5 percent at five years.

Traditional hip implants are made with both metal and plastic components. When a hip implant is made from all metal components, the metal can wear down prematurely and release metallic ions into the blood stream of a patient. All-metal hip implants can also shed debris that kills tissue and bones. Many patients have had to have corrective surgeries and some people have become permanently disabled due to their defective hip devices.