Another Marketing Executive at Johnson &Johnsons DePuy Orthopaedic Unit was called to testify in the first of 10,000 lawsuits to be brought to Trial over the failed DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip device. Some 93,000 ASR’s were globally recalled in August 20110 following mounting failure reports, criticism and lawsuits.
Jurors were told that three years before the recall, marketing staff at DePuy expressed concern over the repercussions related to metal ions shedding from the devices into patient’s bloodstreams. Randall Kalbeurn, a DePuy Marketing Executive was asked about a July 2007 meeting that convened in Chicago in which the marketing team discussed some of the firm’s hip devices. The Sales team were shown a power point presentation entitled ‘What scares us the most in the Year ahead?’ 9 items were listed, the first was metal ion backlash.
Johnson and Johnson implemented the recall when the ASR’s failure rate reached 12%. However, Jurors heard testimony concerning an internal 2011 DePuy ASR study that revealed a 35.8% failure rate within 4.57 years. Failure necessitated revision and replacement surgery. The ASR is comprised of a metal ball that is placed atop the femur in which it rotates in a cup implanted in the Hip. The build- up of metal debris causes complications such as blackened tissue and early revision surgery.
Patients suing Johnson & Johnson allege that the DePuy ASR left them in pain and unable to walk due to joint dislocations, infections and fractures and that they suffered from elevated chromium and cobalt levels because of the way in which the devices components wear on one another in normal use. Johnson & Johnson have denied all of these claims and says it appropriately warned of the devices risks.
The Trial continues in the USA with a verdict expected in the next few weeks.