Hip joint replacement – a huge market

As medicine improves, people are living longer which is good news for manufacturers of hip implants. Artificial hip joints have helped millions of people get back on their feet and in recent years, manufacturers have tried to improve the technology used.

Hip resurfacing and the introduction of metal-on-metal hip joints shows that artificial hip joint technology has changed dramatically over the last decade. Resurfacing is a procedure used to strengthen a deteriorating hip before a full replacement will be needed. Metal-on-metal implants were introduced as a more hard-wearing alternative to more common metal-and-plastic hip joints.

The Hip Joint Recall Scandal

Metal-on-metal joints have been the cause of great concern though due to high failure rates. Companies have been forced to recall various all metal devices and the most high profile of these was the withdrawal of 93,000 defective DePuy ASR hip implants by parent company Johnson & Johnson. As a result of the Johnson and Johnson recall, the company are facing 10,000 US Depuy lawsuits which they are expected to spend $2bn to settle.

2.5% of people will need hip implants in the future according to current predictions meaning that health product manufacturers stand to make huge profits. Indeed, they complete ferociously in order to secure market share. J & J have already been in trouble for offering doctors hundred of millions of dollars to use their products exclusively, a discretion which resulted in the company being forced to settle for $311 million in 2007. However, in 2011 J & J made a profit of $10 billion.

Depuy Hip Joint Recall Scandal – the scary failure rate

DePuy ASR devices were found to fail in around 40% of cases, a staggering statistic considering that a failure rate above 1% is generally viewed as objectionable. The devices were not tested on humans with DePuy instead opting to use “hip simulators” to test the device, concluding that it would be safe.

The ASR hip joint devices were designed by Dr Thomas Schmalzried who blamed surgeons for the high failure rates. Schmalzried claimed that the size and form of the devices necessitated extra care during implantation and pointed to high failure rates amongst doctors who only performed a few such surgeries annually to support the suggestion. However, doctors carrying out the procedure had equally high failure rates, therefore discrediting his claim.

The issue of most concern in the hip implant recall scandal is metallosis: poisoning of the blood caused by metallic debris flecking off into the blood stream as the metal parts of the artificial joint rub together. Aside from swelling and discomfort, it is feared that this could lead to cancer.

Call our medical negligence experts for Hip Joint Recall compensation advice

Hip joint recall claims involve highly complex legal work, so it is crucial that the solicitor you instruct is a specialist. The medical negligence solicitors at our firm are experts in their field and would be happy to help you with your hip replacement recall claim. Why not give us a call or email us today – we are already acting for victims of the hip recall scandal – just like you.

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