Recent news surrounding a lawsuit against DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, demonstrates how little concern drug companies can have for patients in America and around the world.
In what seems to be clear case of profits over safety, DePuy Orthopaedics continued to knowingly market a faulty hip replacement despite warnings about the device’s dangerous design flaws.In mid-2010, DePuy Orthopaedics finally recalled the hip replacement. Since then, more than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against DePuy because of the Articular Surface Replacement. In Los Angeles, the first case has gone to trial.
Before the recall, many surgeons had complained to DePuy about the device. Even one of DePuy’s top surgical consultants expressed concern and suggested that the hip replacement should be redesigned. However, “DePuy officials maintained that the problems were related to how surgeons were implanting the cup, not from any design flaw.” Executives at DePuy Orthopaedics asserted for years that the hip replacement was safe and performing well.
In 2009, the FDA asked DePuy for more safety data about the device. The FDA rejected DePuy’s desire to market another, resurfacing version of the device due to a worryingly “high concentration of metal ions” in the blood of patients with the device.
Despite this ruling from the FDA, DePuy continued to aggressively market the resurfacing version outside of the United States. The company never notified health and safety regulators of other countries of this possible safety risk.
Internal company documents that have been brought to light during the trial show that company officials knew that the device was faulty while continuing to market it. A DePuy executive wrote to another executive that “early failures” of the device were likely related to the design.
93,000 patients across the globe have received the DePuy hip replacement. At least 30,000 of these patients are Americans. Shockingly, projections from DePuy estimate that the device “will fail in 40 percent of those patients within five years; a rate eight times higher than for many other hip devices.”
Patients going into a hospital to receive treatment or surgery expect that they will receive the best care, not that they will receive faulty devices that endanger their health and safety. Unfortunately, our personal injury attorneys have seen many cases of drug companies marketing dangerous drugs and devices, with no regard for patient safety, in order to boost profits.