In August of 2010, just five years after Depuy’s ASR Hip was put on the market in the United States and seven years after the devices were made available in other parts of the world, DePuy issued a worldwide recall. The company stated that it issued the recall because of a higher than acceptable failure rate of the ASR Hip.
According to DePuy’s website around the time of the recall, 12% of patients (or 1 in 8) who received an ASR Hip would have to undergo revision surgery within five years. It is now apparent that 12% was a gross underestimate.
In Spring of 2011, the British Orthopaedic Association and the British Hip Society released a joint statement stating that the revision rate ranged from 21% at four years to 49% at six years. Moreover, recently unsealed court filings reveal that an internal analysis conducted by Johnson & Johnson in 2011, not long after the recall, estimated a 40% failure rate within five years of implantation.
The ASR Hip is a metal-on-metal implant – a metal ball attaches to a metal stem inserted into the thigh bone and a metal cup attaches to the hip bone. When one of these hips fails, the patient may experience pain, increased metal levels in the blood, fluid buildup around the hip joint, loosening of implant, dislocation, pseudotumors and/or permanent tissue damage.
To date, Faraci Lange represents more than 60 individuals who have been forced to undergo or will be forced to undergo painful, risky revision surgeries to remove the defective device. All the cases filed in federal courts throughout the country, which number more than 7,000, have been consolidated before Judge David A. Katz of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio in multi-district litigation 2197 (MDL 2197) for pretrial proceedings.
In July 2012, Judge Katz issued a case management order that, among other things, set forth a procedure for choosing two bellwether (or lead) cases to proceed to trial in the MDL in September of 2013. The lawsuit of Faraci Lange client Ann McCracken was selected as a national bellwether case and was scheduled to go to trial in September of 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. On November 19, 2013, the parties entered into a global settlement agreement to settle all cases in which the plaintiff underwent revision surgery on or before August 31, 2013.
Faraci Lange continues to investigate and file cases related to defective DePuy ASR hip implants.