British lawmakers consider criminal charges against DePuy execs for ASR hip implant cover-up

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British lawmakers are suggesting that the concealment of evidence that the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR hip implants were defective is criminal behavior.

According to a report from The Telegraph, at least one member of Britain’s Parliament believes that criminal charges are necessary for executives at DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, because they hid evidence that its recalled metal-on-metal hip implant was defective for years but continued to market it as safe and effective.

Close to 10,000 people in the U.K. were fitted with the ASR or ASR XL metal-on-metal hip implants before they were recalled in August 2010. 

Labour Party MP Andrew Miller says one leading British surgeon had his warnings and concerns about the ASR hip implant ignored after he had already fitted hundreds of patients with the device. Soon, many of those recipients were reporting problems caused by a loosening of the device that caused severe and persistent pain and high metallic ions to develop in their bloodstream, leading to tissue and organ damage.

Miller says this surgeon contacted a leading engineer at DePuy telling him via email that he was no longer using the ASR implant in surgeries because of the high rate of complications he was seeing with his patients. The engineer, Graham Isaac, was called as a witness in the ongoing trial of one American victim of the ASR hip implant defects.

Isaac admitted that the company has failed to conduct adequate safety testing and has ignored warnings from surgeons and patients for years before issuing a recall, still maintaining that it is safe and effective.