Increasing media buzz is being devoted to a subject that we introduced to our readers in a blog post last month (November 24), namely, the hip replacement recalls made by DePuy, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, and the attendant product liability suits that are lining up to challenge its manufacturing defects.
In our earlier post, we chronicled the serious problems experienced by many users of the metal-on-metal implant, as well as the need for many of them to have second remedial surgeries to remove the replacement hip and undo the damage caused by it.
The product has been reported to fail at more than a 10 percent rate, and within an impressively short amount of time. Recipients of the implant routinely cite sharp pain and a lesser quality of life. DePuy has recalled about 90,000 of the artificial hip systems.
Now, and given the rising tide of patient complaints from across the country, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated the suits before one federal judge in the Northern District of Ohio.
Evidence concerning what has been termed a “troubling loophole” in the FDA’s regulation of implants is likely to receive prominent coverage going forward. Unlike the introduction of new drugs, which must pass through clinical trials and an exhaustive amount of overall testing, some implants can be directly introduced into the market without testing if they resemble an already existing product. This was the case with DePuy’s hip replacements.
U.S. District Judge David A. Katz will conduct a court hearing on the consolidated suits on January 20, 2011.
Related Resource: www.wsj.com “DePuy’s Hip Replacement: The New Big Thing in Product Liability Suits?” December 17, 2010