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Court Documents Show 40 Percent ASR Hip Failure Rates

DePuy Hip RecallAccording to newly disclosed court documents, Johnson & Johnson conducted an internal evaluation of the ASR hip system, just one year after the DePuy hip recall, showing that nearly 40 percent of patients would experience total hip failure within five years. The company never published these findings, however, and continued to brush off reports of hip complications linked to the all-metal device, as the manufacturer faced increasing litigation over problems with the Articular Surface Replacement, or ASR implant.

Most prosthetic hips are designed to last up to 15 years, with early hip replacement rates hovering around 1 percent after a year. Based on unreasonably high failure rates, the manufacturer issued a DePuy ASR recall in mid-2010, and the company analysis is just one of many documents that may be revealed as the first DePuy hip lawsuit trials began in California earlier this year.

Pretrial testimony of DePuy officials

Honorable J. Stephen Czuleger, who presided over the Los Angeles case, opened several motions with sections of pretrial depositions made by company executives. Paul Voorhorst, director of biostatistics and data management at DePuy, said in pretrial testimony that the company completed ASR failure reviews in the fall of 2011, about one year after the DePuy hip recall of the metal-on-metal device. Further pretrial testimony made by a DePuy engineer stated that as early as 2008, company executives were aware of medical reports that the resurfacing version of the ASR was fretting and releasing unacceptable levels of toxic metal ions, especially in women who received the implant. After reviewing these reports, DePuy officials decided they had to act swiftly to redesign the implant to avoid further complications.

The trial in California Superior Court ended with an $8.3 million jury verdict for the plaintiff. In 2012, DePuy allotted $3 billion to pay for revision surgery and replacement procedures for patients with failed ASR devices.

ASR lawsuits filed by DePuy hip lawyer

It is estimated that some 93,000 patients were implanted with the ASR hip device, and about one-third of those recipients reside in the United States. To date, more than 10,000 complaints involving ASR implants have been lodged in court rooms across the nation. Roughly 7,000 of those claims have been removed to federal court in Ohio, and another 2,000 cases were consolidated in California Superior Court. This particular case was selected to go to trial as the plaintiff has terminal cancer and may not survive through extended litigation. DePuy has already negotiated several out-of-court settlements regarding ASR implants.