The DePuy Hip Recall: What is it all about?

In late August of 2010, DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., a long time orthopedic products manufacturer and subsidiary of health care products and pharmaceuticals giant, Johnson & Johnson, issued a voluntary recall of its ASR XL Acetabular Hip System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The issuance of this recall was tantamount to an admission by DePuy that it had produced and sold hip replacement products with substandard failure rates, with as many as twelve percent (12%) of patients requiring “revision” surgery to repair problems associated with these devices – in other words, the devices were removed and replaced.

Absent the aforementioned recall, there are indications that DePuy had been aware of problems with its hip replacement products for some time. In 2006, DePuy issued warning letters to physicians regarding higher than usual failure rates of its ASR hip implants in smaller patients with osteoporosis. Three years later, DePuy completely withdrew the ASR hip from selected markets, claiming poor sales as the reason behind its decision. Despite these apparent acknowledgements of serious issues with its ASR implants, DePuy kept its products in remaining markets until issuing its worldwide recall in 2010.

David Floyd, DePuy Orthopedics president at the time of the recall, issued the following statement:

“We regret that this recall will be concerning for patients, their family members and surgeons. We are committed to assisting patients and health care providers by providing information through multiple channels and paying for the cost of doctor visits, tests and procedures associated with the recall.”

DePuy, through other lines of communication, further expressed its commitment to cover reasonable and customary costs of monitoring, testing, and treatment services, up to and including “revision” surgery associated with the recalled device if necessary.

The DePuy Hip Recall: What is the way forward?

If you are a hip implant recipient whose procedure was performed after July 2003, there is a possibility that you may carry the defective ASR device. To see if this is the case, you are urged to consult with your treating physician immediately. Your doctor should have access to the records that are relevant to this determination. In the event that you were implanted with the recalled device, he or she should also be able to make a clinical assessment as to whether or not your hip implant device is functioning properly, or if you are a candidate for “revision” surgery.

It is important to maintain records and copies of any and all medical bills associated with these types of physician visits, tests, and/or procedures so that you can provide documentation to DePuy Orthopedics of any monies for which you are entitled to reimbursement.

It is also important to speak with an attorney if you have any questions pertaining to potential litigation against DePuy for any injuries you may have suffered as the result of this defective device.

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