UK Defense Minister Suing over DePuy ASR after Suffering from a Tumor


Overview: UK Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan is looking to file a lawsuit over the DePuy ASR hip implant, which he alleges is “toxic” after the device left him with a tumor in his left leg. The metal-on-metal hip implant, which was recalled worldwide in 2010, has sparked lawsuits in both the UK and United States after it was learned that the implants fail at high rates and release metal debris into the body, poisoning the bloodstream and causing painful complications.

  • UK Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan is looking to sue DePuy over the recalled ASR hip implant
  • Robathan suffered a tumor in his left leg after receiving the implant; he says he is in constant pain and has difficulty standing for extended periods of time
  • 93,000 ASR hip implants were called by DePuy and parent company Johnson & Johnson in 2010 due to a high failure rate

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

Recalled Hip Implant ‘Toxic’

According to the Telegraph, Robathan was implant with two ASR resurfacing systems in 2006. When these devices were first introduced, they were marketed as being more suitable for younger, more active patients. However, within five years a non-cancerous tumor had formed at the top of his left leg; these so-called pseudotumors have been one of the most common complications seen with metal-on-metal hip implants. Robathan’s doctor confirmed that the tumor was linked to his ASR hip implant, Telegraph reported. The former soldier says that he cannot stand for long periods of time and is in constant. “When the product is stuck inside you, of course, it becomes rather more tricky – it’s not like recalling a fridge. At first I was resigned to the fact that something had just gone wrong. But I went from being resigned about the situation to being absolutely angry.” Mr. Robathan said. His doctors have told him that he will need revision surgery for both hips. “Frankly, big operations are very difficult. They have dangers, and I’m not looking forward to it. I was hoping these hips would mean I remained active, but instead I’m in pain and need two further big operations.” He stated.

DePuy ASR Background

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants in 2010, a third of them in the US and 10,000 in the UK. The devices were found to fail at high rates and released metal ion debris into the bloodstream and surrounding tissue, potentially leading to complications such as metallosis, pseudotumors, pain, swelling, limited mobility and ultimately the need for early revision surgery. Over 10,000 lawsuits have been filed over the devices in the United States alleging that the implants are defective and caused injuries. The first trial over the DePuy ASR led to an $8.3 million verdict in favor of the Plaintiff. The second trial is currently underway in Chicago.