Sacramento Law Firm Scrutinizes Johnson & Johnson again, as the Pharmaceutical Company Recalls Hip Replacement Implants affecting 93,000 Hip Surgery Patients
August 27, 2010
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff announced today that they will again investigate allegations of harmful medical products made by a Johnson & Johnson company.
The Sacramento class action and personal injury law firm is no stranger to contending against big pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical devices. They’ve litigated against Johnson & Johnson or subsidiary companies for years over the safety of its medical products. In 2006, the firm achieved a global settlement against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of women who were injured by using medical device, Intergel (Contratto v. Ethicon, Johnsion & Johnson, Lifecore, et al U.S. Distric Court, Northern CA No. C03-3804MJJ ARB). Prior to forming Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, two of the firm’s partners, William Kershaw and Brooks Cutter, served as lead class counsel in a nationwide products liability class action against Ethicon, Inc. regarding contaminated medical sutures designed, manufactured, distributed and sold by Ethicon, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson (In re Vicryl Sutures Litigation, Judicial Council Coordination proceeding No. 4148, Alameda County Superior Court, California; Neely, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al. Civil No. 1:00CV569(Th) U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Texas). Kershaw and Cutter litigated the heavily contested and confidential case to a successful resolution.
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff and Wexler Wallace LLP began investigating claims this week arising from consistent complaints to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about two hip implant systems made by DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson.On August 26, 2010, DePuy announced a worldwide recall of the two hip implant systems – the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, that have been implanted in an estimated 93,000 patients worldwide.
The ASR™ XL Acetabular System is a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement surgery, while the ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System is a partial hip replacement system that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur. The devices reportedly have a high failure rate. As the New York Times reported in March 2010, over the past two years the FDA reportedly received over 400 complaints involving United States patients who received these implants.
In their coverage of the current recall, the New York Times noted the high number of recalls issued by Johnson & Johnson over the past years.They quoted professor of pharmaceutical marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, William Trombetta, as saying, "This is a company that was purer than Caesar’s wife, this was the gold standard, and all of a sudden it just seems like things are breaking down.”
Mr. Kershaw found this statement laughable."Johnson and Johnson has one of the most effective marketing machines on the planet and makes very effective use of protective orders in virtually all of the cases where it is sued,” he stated. "These protective orders, entered by most Courts, really do a serious public disservice in that they hide much of the shocking conduct in which both Johnson & Johnson and many other pharmaceutical companies engage. If Professor Trombetta knew just a fraction of the Johnson & Johnson conduct hidden behind legions of protective orders, his views would be very different.”
The ASR systems have been under increasing scrutiny reportedly due to their metal-on-metal bearings which can generate debris from wear, in turn causing tissue damage and inflammation in some patients. In the fall of 2009, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit began "phasing out” the use of the ASR hip implants.
DePuy has recommended that patients implanted with the affected devices visit their doctors for an evaluation and monitoring. DePuy has also said that it would pay "reasonable and customary” medical costs associated with its recall, including further surgery. However, that may not be nearly enough to cover the significant expenses, pain and continued suffering experienced by patients recovering from hip replacement surgery. Patients have suffered, and will continue to suffer severe injury, disability, lost wages, physical and mental pain and suffering, and possible death as a result of the defective implants - not to mention the effects felt by patients' spouses and families.
An Associated Press blog**** released last Friday indicated
that this is the 11th recall issued by Johnson & Johnson (or a J.&J.
subsidiary) since last September. For the official recall issued on
DePuy's website, click here. Problematic symptoms reported by patients
recovering from hip replacement surgery include:
- Pain and swelling in the hip, groin, leg or
- Audible clicking or crunching sounds coming from
the hip device
- Cup loosening, causing the sensation that the
patients' hip was not in place
- Difficulty walking and decline in physical
- Elevated levels of cobalt, chromium and other
metals in the bloodstream
Prolonged symptoms may
indicate a problem such as:
- Loosening or detachment of the implant
- Fracture of the bone around the implant
- Dislocation of the two parts of the implant
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff have demonstrated their dedication to protecting the legal rights of patients affected by medical devices, as well as their ability to devote substantial resources through trials involving large corporations. Their lawyers have represented thousands of victims of defective medical devices, dangerous drugs and consumer products in cases throughout the United States, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries for their clients and the classes they have represented.
If you would like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with William Kershaw, please contact Taryn Smith at 916.448.9800 or 888.285.3333.
Additionally, Mark J. Tamblyn of Wexler Wallace LLP may be reached at (916) 492-1100.