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Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas
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Metal-on-metal hip implant failures make patients the biggest losers

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Applying the lyrics of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” to the perennial whims of the stock market, this time of year reminds us that “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,” as potential buyers and sellers monitor public corporations’ earnings reports for the fourth quarter and for the entire calendar year of 2012.

Johnson & Johnson’s ledger, for instance, shows that net earnings “for the full-year 2012 were $10.9 billion,” according to a corporate statement. Further, net earnings “for the fourth quarter of 2012 were $2.6 billion.” On the other hand, J&J absorbed an $800,000 jolt in the fourth quarter. It was a quarterly hit of “after-tax special items of $0.8 billion, primarily related to an increase in the litigation accrual and program costs associated with the DePuy ASR Hip,” plus some merger and research and development expenses.

J&J suffered the same type of blow in 2011, according to its annual report for that year, which read, “Consolidated earnings before provision for taxes on income decreased by $4.5 billion to $12.4 billion in 2011 as compared to $16.9 billion in 2010, a decrease of 27.1 percent. The decrease was primarily due to costs associated with product liability and litigation expenses, the impact of the OTC [over-the-counter] and DePuy ASR Hip recalls” and some corporate restructuring expenses.

Nevertheless, all things considered, Johnson & Johnson had a better 2011 and 2012 than did recipients of its subsidiary’s defective metal-on-metal hip implants.

After all, the corporation made money. But those patients for a protracted time lost the ability to function as they should have been able to do. Medical costs, unpaid time off of work, and other losses were incorporated into the hits that many patients took.

The hip failure hurt like hell, too. A lot of these patients never will be the same.

Damaged patients deserve to recover every penny for their losses. No doubt about it; they’ve struck a rough patch. For instance, some plaintiffs in metal-on-metal hip implant litigation have been exposed to serious adverse reactions such as metallosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration explained these sources of agony as follows: “There are some case reports of the metal particles causing a reaction around the joint, leading to deterioration of the tissue around the joint, loosening of the implant and failure of the device. … In addition, some metal ions from the implant may enter into the bloodstream.”

A patient who has suffered from metallosis and other complications that stemmed from receiving a failed metal-on-metal hip implant, including the setbacks of revision surgery, may want to seek an attorney with unique experience and expertise in handling medical device and pharmaceutical injury litigation. The experienced product liability attorneys at Reich & Binstock can help.

J&J’s DePuy Orthopaedics voluntarily recalled its ASR XL Acetabular Hip System in August 2010, as the FDA explained, “because of new, unpublished data from the UK joint registry indicating the revision rates within 5 years were approximately 13 percent.”

In regard to all large-diameter metal-on-metal total hip replacements, the British Hip Society and the British Orthopaedic Association issued a [no pun intended] joint statement in March 2011 concerning “well researched and audited results of these devices.”

A part of the statement read as follows: “There was a predominance of the ASR XL device, which has been withdrawn, but large diameter MOM devices from other manufacturers may also be showing similar results. … The presented results show a higher than anticipated early failure rate. These range from 21 percent revision rate at 4 years (potentially rising to 35 percent if all currently known painful implants progress to revision) to 49 percent at 6 years for the ASR XL device. Other devices have a revision or impending revision rate of 12–15 percent at 5 years.”

As the aforementioned statement implies, Johnson & Johnson is not the only maker of a balky metal-on-metal hip implant. Victims of any of the following devices may want to contact one of the metal-on-metal hip implant attorneys at Reich & Binstock for a free consultation as to an entitlement to compensation:

  • Biomet M2a Hip Implants
  • Biomet M2a-Magnum
  • Biomet Regenerex
  • Birmingham Hip Replacement
  • Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system
  • DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System
  • DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System
  • DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System
  • DePuy PINNACLE ULTAMET Metal Liner
  • Portland Orthopaedics Ltd. M-COR Modular Hip System
  • RingLoc + Modular Acetabular System
  • Stryker Hip Implants
  • Wright CONSERVE Total Resurfacing Hip System
  • Wright PROFEMUR Hip Implant
  • Zimmer Durom Cup
  • Zimmer Continuum Acetabular System

Reich & Binstock may be reached either through the electronic form on the national law firm’s Web site, www.reichandbinstock.com, or toll-free at 1-866-LAW-2400.

Regardless of whether J&J’s recently reported propensity to settle is fulfilled, Reich & Binstock, if necessary, can handle the most complex medical device litigation.

Plaintiffs with a viable claim, who face mounting medical expenses and other losses, may rest assured, as the song says, “There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”