Johnson & Johnson Under Federal Investigation for DePuy’s Metal-on-Metal Hip Device Marketing

DePuy Hip Replacement Devices have caused serious complications
DePuy Hip Replacement Devices have caused serious complications

US Justice Department Is Investigating Medical Manufacturer for DePuy’s Marketing Practices

Johnson & Johnson reported on Friday, February 22nd, that they and their subsidiary DePuy will be investigated for marketing practices related to several faulty medical devices, including the DePuy metal-on-metal hip devices.

In 2010, DePuy/J&J recalled their metal-on-metal hip replacement devices due to customer complaints. However, globally, 93,000 of the faulty DePuy hip devices were sold before the recall, resulting in over 10,000 lawsuits alleging personal injury related to failing devices and metal shavings entering the blood.

Johnson & Johnson’s statement said that the federal government is investigating the medical manufacturer for potentially false claims affecting federal health care programs, like Medicare.

According to the statement, some employees in some divisions of the company received an informal contact from the US Attorney’s office in August 2012, as well as the Justice Department’s civil division seeking materials related to the ASR XL Hip device. J&J said it had produced the documents specified in the informal requests, and is now fully cooperating with the government’s civil investigation.

J&J has recalled nearly 30 products in the last 3 ½ years.

DePuy Synthes, a subsidiary of J&J, is one of the biggest manufacturers for joint replacement devices, surgical trauma equipment, and orthopedic surgical devices.

J&J has also been told directly by the FDA to stop marketing its Corail Hip System for two unapproved uses. The order came mere days before DePuy recalled the ASR metal-on-metal hip devices. Even earlier, in 2007, DePuy was accused by the Justice Department of paying surgeons kickbacks to exclusively use DePuy orthopedic devices. The company was fined $84.7 million.

With all the product recalls, including both DePuy’s metal-on-metal hip replacement devices, as well as personal injury lawsuits from tainted drugs and defective products, and ongoing factory upgrades, Johnson & Johnson has lost $1 billion in revenue.

DePuy / J&J Faces Series of Personal Injury Lawsuits

At the end of January, Loren Kransky’s personal injury lawsuit became the first in the multidistrict litigation against DePuy to go to trial. The case will serve as a bellwether case – to determine how the other lawsuits in the MDL will likely play out.

Documents brought forth in the lawsuit allege that J&J knew about the defects in its metal-on-metal hip devices as early as 2005, and chose to market them 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.

The device was even being abandoned by surgeons who worked as consultants for the company. Still, DePuy executives continued to market the product.

A J&J spokeswoman said the company analyzed its patient registry in “looking out for patient interests” and the analysis “was based on a small, limited set of data that could not be used to generalize” the rates for replacing the hip parts. So they decided to keep the all-metal hip replacements on the market.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Cases Because of DePuy’s Metal-on-Metal Hip Devices

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.



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