DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., a division of Johnson and Johnson instituted a recall of DePuy Hip Replacement in the year 2010. DePuy recalled its ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement system on August 24, 2010, owing to a study which indicated that the five year failure rate of this product was approximately 13%, which implied that 1 in every 8 patients, who had undergone this surgery, might have to undergo a “revision” surgery again. Even the replacement of defective device would not have assured that the body would be free from the dangerous and deadly fragments that the implant system would have left.

Metal-on-metal hip replacements accounted for almost one- third of the 250,000 hip replacements that are performed in the United States, every year. However since they use cobalt and chrome in their construction, when the parts of this hip replacement system rub against each other they result in metal poisoning, soft tissue damage, inflammatory reactions,  component loosening, component malalignment, infection, necrosis, bone staining, increased metal level ions in blood and so on.

Approximately 93,000 patients were implanted with DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems before the hip replacements were recalled, and estimated 12,000 people in this population might require a corrective or second or revision surgery. The first lawsuit filed against DePuy Orthipaedics was in United States on 15th June 2010. Defective Design, Improper education about the side effects of the product and not mitigating the complete information about these hip replacement systems were the claims of the lawsuit.

  • 7th December 2010- U.S. Judicial Panel on MDL (Multi District Litigation) filed a ruling to determine the fate of plethora of lawsuits regarding DePuy Hip Recalls in the U.S.
  • 26th January 2011- Judge Katz entered an order in the MDL and named leadership counsel for Plaintiffs and Defendants. While Ben Gordon, Eric Kennedy, Ellen Relkin, Mark Robinson, Christopher Seeger, and Steven Skikos were named on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee; Robert Tucker and Susan Sharko were named as Defendants’ Co-Lead Counsel.
  • 11th July 2011- Approximately 1000 more people filed DePuy hip replacement lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson.

At this time, the numbers of lawsuits filed against the manufacturer were growing at an alarming speed. Wall Street Journal at this point in time reported that J&J had bulked up its liability fund by $570 million last year to meet the potential settlement costs of the DePuy Hip replacement implants. However as per the estimates of Wells Fargo, an analyst, those were published in the Wall Street Journal, the company could face upto $1 billion as liability costs.

  • 17th July 2011- 80 more lawsuits joined the class action lawsuit against DePuy Orthopedics over its defective ASR Hip implants. Another finding during the filing of these petitions was that while these systems were manufactured to last as long as fifteen years in most of the patients, as many as hundreds of patients who had undergone this surgery in the U.S., had to opt for a revision surgery within a few months of getting this hip replacement done.

Due to the high failure rate, many more studies were conducted on these hip implant systems and the results were very alarming. One of the studies conducted on ASR hip implant system suggested that they can fail to provide the desired outcomes in up to 30% of the people receiving it.