Hip replacement devices are intended to restore mobility and eliminate pain, but many people who receive these devices experience increased suffering instead of relief.
Claims against Johnson &Johnson and DePuy, two of the most popular hip replacement device manufacturers, and many other device manufacturers have resulted in significant settlements for those who have been negatively impacted by hip replacements. To date, the company’s hip replacement settlements total approximately $1 billion and that amount is expected to rise and more people file claims against Johnson & Johnson.
10,000 Hip Replacement Lawsuits Expected to Settle
So far, the company has settled more than 95 percent of the 6000 cases linked to its Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacements. This accounts for a little more than half of the cases Johnson & Johnson faces related to hip implants and includes people who were forced to have their devices removed due to pain and mobility issues.
Another 4500 cases filed by those who did not have their devices removed, but are expected to settle, are still pending but expected to settle out of court.
Those familiar with the claims believe this will be the case for the majority of the 10,000 individual lawsuits brought by consumers. This is in addition to the state-level claims brought by attorneys general from 46 states that claim the company misled consumers concerning implants. Johnson & Johnson had already agreed to pay $120 million to settle those claims. In those lawsuits, attorneys claimed the company knew of the risks associated with its product and allowed the public to believe the devices would last longer than they actually would.
Hip Replacement Recipients Suffer Discomfort and Immobility
Failure of a hip replacement device can be more painful than dealing with the issues that brought about the need for an implant.
Symptoms of hip implant failure include:
- Pain during movement
- Swelling in or near the affected area
- Lumps in or near the area
- Partial or complete dislocation or feeling as if the joint has slipped out of place
- Odd noises during movement, including squeaking or popping
Revision or replacement surgery could be needed if the patient experiences:
- Fracture or other injury
- Damage or deterioration to the implant
- Loosening of the implant
Revision and replacement surgeries are considered higher risk than the initial implantation of the device. They also have an increased recovery time. Patients made their decision to receive hip implants assuming it would be years, if ever, that they’d need to undergo follow-up procedures but soon found this was not the case.
Hip Replacement Devices Have Much Shorter Life Span than Marketed
Plaintiffs claim DePuy advertised replacement rates for hip implants as being less than 1 percent in a three to five-year window, but data shows the rate is actually between 4 and 7 percent. DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR hip replacement systems in 2010 after data showed a 12% failure rate within five years in devices designed to last for two decades.
Additionally, the National Registry of England and Wales confirmed the higher rate of 7 percent failure for the ASR XL hip implant and a revision rate of slightly more than 4 percent for the Pinnacle Ultamet device.
The company has since stopped selling its metal-on-metal hip joints and recalled 93,000 ASR devices worldwide. As a result of the existing legal settlements, both Johnson & Johnson and DePuy have agreed to base claims on the most recent data available, post-market surveillance of devices, and the information received from a complaint handling program. They also agreed to update procedures related to responding to complaints.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.