Personal Injury News

How DePuy Could Actually Profit from the Hip Recall

There are 1 million artificial knees and hips implanted each year in the United States. Because none of these implants carry warranties, artificial joints represent one of the highest profit margins in the medical device industry, making it not only likely, but highly probably, that DuPuy Orthopaedics (a division of Johnson & Johnson) could actually profit from the recall of its ASR XL Acetabular hip.

The device, recalled in August 2010, has a 12-13 percent hip failure rate in the first five years of use, which is many times higher than the industry standard. A group of highly regarded British orthopedic physicians revised the expected ASR hip implant failure rate up to almost 50%, meaning 1 in 2 recipients will face a painful revision surgery in which the defective device is removed and, barring complications, a second artificial joint is put in place. There are an estimated 93,000 people in this country who have an ASR hip, but even those numbers are sketchy as the United States, unlike other countries, does not maintain a national registry of artificial joint recipients.

In 2009, the sale of artificial joints produced a profit for manufacturers of roughly $6.7 billion. On average a hip implant costs $9,000. With conservative estimates of 12 percent failure in 93,000 patients and rounding up for argument’s sake, 11,200 ASR hips will need to be replaced. (In all likelihood these numbers are low.) Many of these people will receive another hip made by DePuy Orthopaedics. If even half of these patients do, in fact, receive another DePuy hip, the company would realize revenue of $50.4 million.

Other medical devices, like pacemakers, carry a 5 to 7 year warranty and manufacturers offer discounts on replacement devices. This is not the case with artificial joints. Typically manufacturers like DePuy blame surgeons for improperly positioning the device and say they have no control over other mitigating factors like a patient’s weight or the manner in which they use the new joint after surgery. Consequently, Johnson & Johnson, which has set aside $1 billion to cover litigation costs and injury settlements on the recall of the ASR hip, could actually recover substantial portions of that amount on sales of new DePuy hips to the very people the ASR harmed in the first place.

The attorneys at Nagelberg Bernard Law Group are filing DePuy hip lawsuits on behalf of hip replacement recall victims nationwide. If you or a loved one has a defective DePuy ASR hip implant, speak with a DePuy hip recall lawyer for free and confidential legal advice.

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