March 12, 2013
In the wake of a massive recall of defective hip replacement devices manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiaries, federal officials are investigating whether the company participated in illegal marketing practices.
Several lawsuits filed against J&J allege they knew of problems with the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System, but continued marketing the products until 2009. At that time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began receiving reports of the devices’ failures and a recall was issued.
The primary reason for the DePuy Hip Replacement Recall seemed to be premature wear. The devices were supposed to last for roughly 10 to 20 years; however, one in eight patients reported needing the device replaced within five years. This premature wear also led to many patients suffering from a condition known as metallosis. This can occur when small pieces of metal are rubbed off the device by friction and then absorbed into the bloodstream. The condition can cause a patient to suffer numerous autoimmune problems.
According to the Star-Tribune, the current investigation into illegal marketing practices comes on the heels of the company paying $84.7 million in fines stemming from allegations of kickbacks being offered to doctors for using the company’s products.