Johnson & Johnson Won’t Make or Sell Metal on Metal Hip Implants


This week Johnson & Johnson announced it will stop selling any metal-on-metal hip replacements.  The Pinnacle Ultamet Metal on Metal Articulation will not be available after August 31st of 2013.  The statement was released on the DePuy Orthopaedics website and can be reviewed here.

Discontinued Because of Low Sales? Or Because of High Failures?

J&J says they discontinued the last metal-on-metal hip replacement, one of the Pinnacle hip replacement system options that employed a metal surface rubbing against a metal surface, because of low sales, citing a 90% decline in metal-on-metal bearing use since 2007.  Of course in that same time period, many of the world’s Joint Registries recorded huge increases in metal hip failures. But that’s not the issue here according to DePuy:

“The decision to discontinue these products is not related to safety or efficacy, and is not a recall.”

However, DePuy’s own secret internal research found that another of their metal implants, the ASR, showed a 40% failure rate within 5 years.  Other independent research has found even higher failure rates for the ASR Metal on Metal hip.  However, DePuy STILL insists the ASR is not defective and any failures of those implants should be blamed on the surgeons, not the hip.   This type of information makes it difficult to believe Johnson & Johnson when they say their products are safe.

Why DePuy Won’t Go Through With Metal on Metal Clinical Tests

The FDA is now requiring all metal-on-metal hip replacements with a 501(k) approval to go through the premarket testing process that it skipped over originally.  That means back in 2000 the FDA allowed DePuy to sell Ultamet joints without presenting clinical research on the joint.

]”So far, Johnson & Johnson has racked up over $1 billion in legal fees over the recalled ASR hip implants, yet they have not publicly settled any of the lawsuits against them.  Instead of compensating ASR patients, they are spending millions of dollars fighting victims suffering from a defective ASR hip.”

All DePuy had to do was show the FDA that Ultamet was closely related to another similar joint product to get approval.  In January of this year, the FDA closed that loophole.  Now DePuy says it doesn’t want to go through that kind of testing in order to sell these metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Why J&J is Getting Out of the Metal Hip Business

Johnson & Johnson is facing over 10,000 metal hip-related lawsuits in the United States.  It makes sense that they are trying to “simplify and streamline DePuy’s portfolio” of hip products.  That means they’re getting out of the metal-on-metal hip business.  And it’s no surprise.  So far, Johnson & Johnson has reportedly racked up over $1 billion in legal fees over the recalled ASR hip implants, yet they have not publicly settled any of the lawsuits against them.  Instead of compensating ASR patients, they are spending enormous sums of dollars fighting victims.

What to Do If You Have a Metal on Metal Hip Implant

If you are one of the thousands of people in the U.S. currently facing medical complications from a metal-on-metal hip implant, contact mctlaw right away.  We want to hear about your situation and let you know how we can help.  When you’re choosing an attorney to represent you in a metal-on-metal hip case, it’s important to know how many hip implant cases they’ve litigated. Because of the medical and legal complexities of these cases, you need a lawyer who has an extensive background in this area.

Attorney Altom Maglio filed one of the first metal-on-metal hip lawsuits in the United States against Johnson & Johnson.  Mr. Maglio is one of the leading joint replacement attorneys in the country, with extensive experience litigating and resolving metal-on-metal hip claims.  For more information, please contact him at 888.952.5242.

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