Johnson & Johnson Facing Over 10,000 DePuy ASR Lawsuits


Johnson & Johnson Facing 10,000 Lawsuits Alleging Injuries from Recalled DePuy ASR Hip ImplantOverview: There are over 10,000 lawsuits alleging that the DePuy ASR hip implant caused injuries such as early revision, tissue death and high levels of metal ions. The metal-on-metal hip replacement was globally recalled in 2010 due to unacceptably high failure rates. The recall sparked safety concerns not limited to the DePuy ASR, but brought international attention to metal-on-metal hip implants as a whole.

  • Johnson & Johnson is facing 10,000 lawsuits over the DePuy ASR hip implant
  • DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the ASR device in 2010 due to reports showing that the implant failed in 12 percent of patients within five years
  • The DePuy ASR is a metal-on-metal hip implant; research shows that these types of implants tend to fail more frequently than other types of hip replacements

Product: DePuy ASR Hip Implant

Manufacturer: DePuy Orthopaedics/ Johnson & Johnson

Side Effects & Complications

  • High failure rate
  • Necrosis (tissue death)
  • Increased levels of cobalt and chromium ions
  • Pain at the implant, sometimes spreading to the groin and back
  • Osteolysis (bone loss)
  • Fluid collections/solid masses around the hip joint

DePuy Lawsuits Consolidated into MDL

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that a November filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that as of September there are 10,100 DePuy ASR lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. Many of the lawsuits have been filed into the DePuy ASR multidistrict litigation entitled In re: DePuy Orthopedics Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (10-MD-2197). Cases have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Toledo) before Judge David Katz. According to Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson would not estimate product liability costs but the company reported spending $800 million on the recall in January 2012. Lawsuits filed against the company allege that the cobalt and chromium ions released from the implant causes tissue death and dangerously high levels of metal ions in the blood.

Johnson & Johnson recalled 93,000 DePuy ASR hip devices around the world in 2010; 37,000 implants were distributed in the United States alone. Data indicated that the metal hip implants failed in more than 12 percent of patients within five years.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants Prone to High Rates of Failure

The DePuy ASR recall has highlighted issues common with all types of metal-on-metal hip implants. According to a study published in The Lancet, metal-on-metal hip implants failed at a rate of 6 percent in five years compared to about 2 percent with plastic or ceramic devices. The devices have come under scrutiny due to reports indicating that they shed metallic debris into the body and bloodstream. In fact, last June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gathered a panel of experts to discuss the pros and cons of the implants and make recommendations for their use. Overall, the panelists agreed that patients implanted with metal-on-metal hips should undergo yearly physicals, imaging scans and possible blood screening for metal ions.