Monday, January 28, 2013
The AP (1/26, Deutsch) reported that a jury in Los Angeles, California, "heard opening statements Friday in a lawsuit that accuses Johnson & Johnson of knowingly marketing a faulty hip implant that lawyers say left thousands of people with crippling problems or in need of replacement surgeries. The fraud and negligence suit is the first of thousands of similar cases to reach trial" in the US, related to the "all-metal ball-and-socket hip joint" that J&J subsidiary, DePuy Orthopedics Inc. "pulled from the market two years ago."
According to Bloomberg News (1/25, Possley, Voreacos, Feeley), the "first of 10,000 lawsuits over the device to go to trial," involved Loren Kransky, a "retired prison guard who got an ASR XL hip implant in 2007, sued in state court in 2011 and had the device replaced last year." In his opening statement on Friday, Kransky's lawyer Michael Kelly told a Los Angeles jury that DePuy Orthopaedics "knew the ASR hips were failing and never told doctors." Kelly also "claimed that debris from the metal ball sliding against the metal cup caused metal ions to enter Kransky's bloodstream."
On the front of its Business Day section, the New York Times (1/26, B1, Meier, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) noted that Kelly also "introduced a number of internal records that suggested that company executives' concern for profits might have exceeded their worries about patients." He said officials at DePuy never informed physicians "that the ASR had failed an internal performance test against another company hip." Moreover, Kelly alleged that company officials "changed the test and tested it against other things until they found one it could beat."Meanwhile, Reuters (1/26, Beasley) reported that in documents submitted to the court, J&J and DePuy contend that ASR hips do not leak poisons; and they assert that Kransky's extensive medical conditions are due to the fact that he is a life-long smoker, who suffers from diabetes and kidney disease - both of which were diagnosed prior to his having received the implant. Reuters also pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 24 released a proposed order to bar medical device manufacturers from selling metal-on-metal artificial hip joints until they are able to provide data to substantiate the safety of the products.