November 13, 2013 — Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will settle more than 7,500 hip implant lawsuits involving the DePuy ASR for more than $4 billion — the largest-ever medical device settlement in U.S. history.
Each plaintiff will receive an average of $300,000 for each surgery, and plaintiffs can potentially seek additional compensation if their hips fail in the future.
Studies have linked the ASR to a 25% 6-year failure-rate, and a 50% failure-rate for total hip replacement with the ASR, according to a study published in the Bone and Joint Journal in February 2011.
Plaintiffs allege that design of the ASR was defective because the metal-on-metal “ball-and-socket” parts could grind together when the patient walked and release tiny particles of chromium and cobalt. This metal debris could cause pain, swelling, inflammation, metal poisoning, and premature failure of the hip implant.
J&J Pays $2.2 Billion in Risperdal Lawsuit Settlements
Last week, J&J also agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil lawsuits involving illegal marketing of Risperdal for “off-label” uses that were not approved by the FDA. The company is also facing about 500 lawsuits from people who were injured by Risperdal — including many children who developed gynecomastia (enlarged male breast tissue) as a side effect of Risperdal.
Allegations raised in the ASR hip implant litigation are similar to those raised in Risperdal lawsuits. Prosecutors in the Risperdal cases allege that J&J knew or should have known about the dangers of marketing Risperdal, a powerful anti-psychotic, to children with moderate behavior disorders like ADHD. Likewise, attorneys in the ASR litigation allege that J&J knew the device had a high failure rate, but continued to market its metal-on-metal design as an ideal option for younger, healthier hip implant recipients.
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