J&J dodged years of warnings before recalling metal hips, lawsuit claims

January 29, 2013 by MassDevice staff

Uncovered documents from the 1st of a slew of patient injury lawsuits to go to trial against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics and its metal-on-metal hips suggest that company officials ignored warnings that the implants failed earlier than they should have, lawyers for the plaintiff claim.

Hip implant illustration

New documents unveiled during trial proceedings don't bode well for Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics.

Emails and internal memos suggest that the metal-on-metal hip maker for years hid concerns about the failure rates of its ASR implants, which are now the subject of a high-profile recall and thousands of patient injury lawsuits.

Evidence provided during the trial further suggest that the DePuy knew as far back as 2007 that the ASR designs failed faster than other hip implants and the company began looking at a possible redesign, but a recall wasn't initiated until 2010.

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DePuy's attorney's maintained during opening arguments that the ASR implants had performed well in patients in the years and that "DePuy acted as an extremely responsible manufacturer," the New York Times reported.

The medical device maker has said in the past that when it began phasing out the ASR devices in 2009 it did so because interest in the product was waning, not due to warnings from physicians.

Read more of MassDevice.com's coverage of metal-on-metal hip implants.