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Johnson & Johnson Settles DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuits for $4 Billion

Posted on behalf of Greg Coleman Law on Nov 14, 2013 in Defective Product

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits stemming from the 2010 recall of faulty DePuy hip implants. The deal, expected to cover more than 7,500 federal and state lawsuits, would be considered the largest medical device settlement in the United States.

Patients claimed that the all-metal hip replacement wore out in just a few years, a much shorter rate compared with other hip implants on the market. In 2010 the DePuy system was recalled after safety regulators received a number of complaints about the short lifespan of the product. Patients also alleged that the metal device left metal particles embedded in the surrounding tissue as it wore down.

The agreement calls for each patient to receive between $300,000 and $350,000 in compensation and would include patients who have already had the defective hip replacement substituted.

 Johnson & Johnson spent more than $990 million in medical costs and informing patients and surgeons about the recall. The healthcare company set aside funds for the litigation process and then increased the amount before June of this year.

It is estimated that one out of every eight patients who received a DePuy hip replacement needed to have additional surgery to replace or repair the device within five years.

Along with metal fragment embedment, loose components of the defective system were also known to cause additional side-effects, such as:

  • Bone Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Infections
  • Metal Sensitivity
  • Chronic Pain

High metal ion levels in the bloodstream could also lead to a pseudotumor. According to a study published in the UK edition of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery pseudotumors may be 10 times more common in patients after receiving hip replacement. Pseudotumors are semi-sold or cystic periprosthetic masses that can ultimately be life-threatening.

Overall Johnson & Johnson is facing 12,000 lawsuits filed in federal and state courts. A second round of settlements is expected.

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