DePuy Orthopedics Settles First Cases Over Defective Implant Systems

It might be a while before justice is fully realized worldwide, but this is a good start.

According to Bloomberg’s Business Week, Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical and consumer-goods conglomerate, has agreed to pay about $600,000 to resolve the first three cases in a series of litigation over defective hip implants that caused serious harm to thousands of consumers around the world.

Johnson & Johnson is a large American corporation that disseminates packaged goods sold in more than 175 countries. It is the largest healthcare company in the world, and has approximately 250 subsidiary companies, which include numerous household-known brand-names of medications, first-aid supplies, toiletries, and beauty products.

DePuy Orthopedics is one of those underling businesses. In 2010, DePuy issued a voluntary recall of two of their surgical hip replacement systems, after studies found that many patients who received these DePuy hip implants suffered from symptoms including pain, swelling, and difficulty walking, and had to undergo a revision surgery to correct painful issues with the implants. In fact, according to the DePuy Orthopedics website, one in eight patients who received the defective hip replacement product, needed a second surgery.

Now, Johnson & Johnson, on behalf of DePuy, faces about 8,000 lawsuits brought by patients who have suffered as a result of the defective implants.

Flaws in the design of the hip replacement system were responsible for the painful and debilitating symptoms suffered by patients. Problems with the device occurred either when the implant became loosened from the bone, or when the implant became dislocated or fractured, causing ball and socket components in the implant rub against each other and become damaged over time. When this happened, metal particles were released into the bloodstream and some patients suffered a reaction to the particles, causing fluid build-up around muscles and joints. The resulting accumulation led to swelling, pain, and, oftentimes, damage to nerves, muscles, joints and bones in the area of the hip implant.

In these first three personal injury cases, Johnson & Johnson is expected to pay about $200,000 per case to resolve the suits before they were otherwise scheduled to go to trial later this year. In addition to compensating the victims for medical bills and pain and suffering that arose from the defective implants, these settlements serve as a good omen for other plaintiffs who hope to collect remuneration for the harm they, too, suffered.

To date, Johnson & Johnson has spent more than $800 million on the recall of the DePuy implant system during the past two years, but the subsequent remedial measures are not enough. Illinois product liability law holds manufacturers of products responsible for the quality of goods they produce and distribute to the public. Companies are expected to adequately test their merchandise prior to putting it the market for public use, and ensure that the goods are safe for consumer use. When customers put their trust in the hands of companies who manufacture medical devices and supplies, they have the right to expect a safe, effective product that won’t leave them worse off from its use.

Chicago product liability lawsuits can be brought against medical device manufacturers such as DePuy Orthopedics for their negligence in designing a defective product. If you or a loved one received a DePuy ASR System hip implant and underwent further surgery, or if other injuries or medical complications arose, you may be able to seek compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. Contact an attorney to be apprised of your rights under the law.

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