CRESSKILL, N.J., Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that all-metal hip implants can cause soft tissue damage, and a week before trials are scheduled to begin, Johnson & Johnson (J & J) is said to be negotiating a potential $2 billion settlement with DePuy Hip Replacement System plaintiffs. The FDA urged surgeons to only recommend metal-on-metal hip implants - which can shed metal and damage surrounding bone and soft tissue - after determining that their benefits outweigh those of alternate hip replacement systems. As soon as settlement amounts have been finalized, RD Legal Funding will make immediate settlement funding available to DePuy plaintiffs and their attorneys.
Between 2007 and 2009, the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry warned DePuy 17 times about ASR problems, including a revision rate twice the normal expectancy rate of 15 years. The first lawsuit in the United States against DePuy Orthopedics was filed on June 15, 2010. J & J voluntarily recalled more than 93,000 DePuy ASR hip replacement systems in August 2010 but maintained that the devices were performing at the same rates as similar devices. In March 2011, the British Hip Society and British Orthopedic Association reported that revision rates for the ASR at four years were 21%; after six years, 49%. J & J, which now faces some 10,000 suits over the defective DePuy hip replacement system, has offered to pay more than $200,000 to each plaintiff. So far the plaintiff's attorneys have rejected the offer as too low given their clients' suffering.
Metal-on-metal hip implants were supposed to be more durable than previous ceramic and plastic devices. According to the recent FDA proposal, the metal shed when the device's all-metal ball and socket rub together can damage surrounding bone and soft tissue. The proposal calls on the companies still manufacturing the metal-on-metal devices to provide additional information proving they are safe and effective before being allowed to continue selling them.
However the recent FDA proposal does not address all the concerns with the devices. DePuy identified reasons for the failure of the hip replacement as component loosening, misalignment, infection, bone fracture, dislocation, metal sensitivity, and pain. Problems with the devices go beyond the risks of replacement surgeries. Additional complications may include:
- Residual - possibly deadly - metal fragments going undetected for years;
- Increased metal ion levels in the blood;
- Bone staining;
- Nerve, tissue and/or muscle damage or necrosis;
- Damage to the central nervous system including thyroid and heart;
- Poisoning of major organs causing genetic changes and increasing cancer risks, particularly to the kidneys and bladder.
Another factor in J & J's willingness to settle the suits may be their agreement, in September 2007, along with three other companies to pay $311 million in fines - without admitting any wrongdoing - to resolve U.S. Department of Justice allegations that they paid physicians kickbacks to use their artificial hip and knee products. The settlement agreement allowed the companies to continue to enter into product development agreements with doctors, compensating them with royalties based on future sales. DePuy paid nearly $48 million to doctors in 2009 and almost $33 million in the first 9 months of 2010.
For more information about post-settlement financing, DePuy litigants and their attorneys should contact RD Legal Funding at 1-800-565-5177 or go to legalfunding.com. Founded in 1997, RD Legal Funding is now one of the nation's leading providers of post-settlement lawsuit funding to attorneys and plaintiffs.
SOURCE RD Legal Funding