Patient Safety News: Maine Awarded $1.4 Million in Defective Hip Implant Settlement

Maine is one of 46 states to share a settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics unit for falsely marketing the longevity of its metal-on-metal hip replacement devices.

Doctors in Maine and across the country saw complications in patients that received hip replacements with the ASR XL and Pinnacle Ultamet devices, requiring subsequent surgery when they failed prematurely. Many of those patients reported a variety of health problems ranging from persistent groin pain, allergic reactions, tissue necrosis and a build-up of metal ions in the blood.

Nearly 40,000 patients in the U.S. received the DePuy ASR implant from August 2005 through August 2010. During that time Johnson & Johnson claimed publicly that 12 percent of devices failed within five years, yet internal documents showed the failure rate was much worse, 37 percent after 4.6 years. And a study of patients in Australia showed a 44 percent failure rate after seven years. The ASR XL was recalled from the market in 2010 and the Pinnacle Ultamet was discontinued in 2013.

The total settlement is $120 million and involves no admission of liability on the part of the companies.

“When patients require hip implants, they need to determine if the device is right for them,” said Berman & Simmons attorney Susan Faunce who handles dangerous drug and medical device claims, including defective metal-on-metal hip implants. Faunce suggests patients ask their doctor the following questions:

  • What type of hip implant is being used?
  • How long has the device has been on the market?
  • Has the hip implant been subject to recalls?
  • Are there any adverse reports available regarding the device?