On August 26, 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, issued a voluntary recall of its ASR XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System. In doing so, they essentially admitted that they had manufactured and sold hip replacement units that fail at a rate much higher than industry standards, requiring many recipients to require a procedure (known as a “revision” surgery) to remove and replace the defective, dangerous units.
It seems, though, that J&J/DePuy had already known that the products were dangerous for some time. In December 2009, DePuy withdrew ASR units from the Australian market and reported that it would do so worldwide in 2010. But instead of issuing a recall, the company claimed that it would no longer continue to market the ASR hip implant in Australia because of poor sales.
Prior to that, in March 2006, DePuy had sent a letter to doctors warning that the ASR devices had a higher-than-expected failure rate—but only in certain patients. In this letter, DePuy said that patients of small stature, such as women and those with weak bones, were the most likely to experience ASR hip replacement failure.
Despite acknowledging the problems with the ASR devices, DePuy continued to market the products until the worldwide recall. Then, DePuy Orthopaedics’s president issued the following statement:
We regret that this recall will be concerning for patients, their family members, and surgeons. We are committed to assisting patients and health care providers by providing information through multiple channels and paying for the cost of doctor visits, tests, and procedures associated with the recall.
On its Web site, DePuy states that it “…intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment if you need services, including revision surgery if it is necessary, associated with the recall of ASR.”
It remains to be seen what costs J&J and DePuy will consider to be “reasonable and customary,” however. As more injured patients come forward and submit claims to DePuy, this will no doubt become clearer. In the meantime, if you received a hip replacement after July 2003, there is a chance that a defective ASR unit was implanted in you. To verify this, you should contact your doctor promptly. If you did receive an ASR device, your doctor will perform tests to determine if the device is functioning properly and whether or not you will need revision surgery. Keep copies of all of your medical bills associated with these visits and procedures so that you can submit them to J&J/DePuy for reimbursement.
The Rottenstein Law Group is accepting DePuy ASR hip replacement cases. Let us evaluate your case for free. Click this link to fill out a short form and tell us about your case.