Greece Claims DePuy Executives Bribed Hospitals to Buy Faulty All-Metal Hip Replacement Devices
DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson which faces several personal injury lawsuits in the United States and England, now faces criminal corruption charges from Greece.
On Tuesday, February 12th, five DePuy executives were charged by Greek authorities with bribery and money laundering for deals they made with state hospitals between 1998 and 2006.
According to the criminal corruption charges, the five executives paid more than €16 million ($21.5 million) in bribes to Greek doctors at state hospitals in the country. The bribes were specifically to promote DePuy’s products, including the notorious all-metal hip replacement devices.
Eight Greek state doctors, who were mostly orthopedic specialists, have already been formally charged with bribery and money laundering. However, it is currently unclear if the five accused DePuy executives are still employed by the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. Their names have not been released.
The Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported that a Greek magistrate, Spyros Georgouleas, has asked for details of the suspects’ bank accounts in order to uncover possible links to offshore companies, which could have paid the bribes to Greek state doctors and hospital directors.
In 2011, Johnson & Johnson paid $76.9 million to US authorities to settle similar legal action. The medical company was accused of bribery in Greece, Poland, Romania, and Iraq.
Authorities say that bribery is common in Greece, in order to obtain lucrative contacts. It is rarely prosecuted. However, the country is currently in dire financial straits, in large part due to extravagant healthcare spending. Currently, the country relies on international bailouts to stabilize its finances.
DePuy Orthopedics Faces Thousands of Personal Injury Lawsuits in the US
In the first case in DePuy’s ASR model multidistrict litigation (MDL), the plaintiff, Loren Kransky, accused the subsidiary of marketing a harmful product. The ASR model hip device is an all-metal hip replacement. The devices are notorious after several years of reports show high failure rates after 5 years, tissue degradation and necrosis, and, worst of all, metallosis, which can cause liver failure.
At the end of January, court documents were released that revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew about the high failure rates, and chose to market the product anyway. Even as the company began marketing versions of the all-metal hip devices in the US in 2005, they began receiving complaints from doctors and patients. In 2007, the device failed an internal test, in which its performance was compared to that of another of DePuy’s hip replacement devices. In 2011, another Johnson & Johnson internal analysis found that nearly 36% of the devices were expected to fail within 5 years.
By 2009, over 93,000 of the DePuy ASR hip replacement devices had been sold worldwide, with 37,000 sold specifically in the United States. Johnson & Johnson began to phase the DePuy ASR model out of production that year, claiming that sales were slowing, and the device worked as advertised. However, in mid-2010, they voluntarily recalled the ASR devices due to customer complaints.
Representatives for Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiary DePuy claim that the company acted ethically, and is not in violation of FDA or federal regulations.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Cases Against DePuy ASR and Johnson & Johnson
If you or a loved one has received a metal hip replacement device, specifically from DePuy Orthopedics, and have since suffered painful side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.