A former spokesmodel for Depuy has joined a U.K. lawsuit against the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary after the artificial hip she modeled, and encouraged others to get, prematurely wore down.
Penny Brown, a former gymnast, began advertising for Depuy in 2004 after receiving an articular surface replacements (ASR) to relieve her hip pain. In 2009, after the implant left her with constant pain and a "clunking" sensation when walking, doctors told her that the implant had worn out prematurely and would need to be removed.
Brown had the implant removed last month.
"My life has been devastated and not only feel let down personally but also feel guilty that I might have encouraged others to have the ASR implanted," Penny Brown, 51, told Daily Mail UK.
She said she opted for the resurfacing procedure rather than a total hip replacement because she was told it was safer, would last longer and less likely to need further surgeries.
The ASR implant was initially so successful that Brown signed on to model for ads, promoting the procure in company brochures.
However, after recovering from surgery to remove the Depuy implant, she is singing a different tune.
"I cannot sit or stand for long periods and I’m a shadow of my former self, I’m no longer the hard working, vivacious woman I used to be and would still be if I had not had this implant," Brown said. "I could not believe that I, who had so promoted and believed in the product, was falling victim to the design defect."
Brown and others have rallied against the company and its hip implants since a the company pulled its ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems from the market in 2010. About 93,000 people were implanted with the DePuy ASR hip system worldwide before the company issued the recall, "due to the number of patients who required a second hip replacement procedure."
Lawsuits began piling up around the country almost immediately; by late last year, a multi-district litigation system was put in place to bring many of those cases under one court, the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio.
That could add up to a big nut for J&J to swallow. Analysts at Wells Fargo estimated that JNJ could be on the hook for around $1 billion in liability and other costs for the approximately 1,000 cases that have piled up against Depuy,The Street reported.
JNJ recently made the unusual move of hiring an outside firm to manage the high-profile recall, a decision that could limit its financial exposure – and limit patients’ access to replacement devices.