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DePuy Down Under: Class Action Under Way

Sarah Klein | March 8th, 2011 | Posted in Depuy Hip Recall News

Tammy Stanford is a 40 year old teacher and mother of two. She is also the lead plaintiff in the DePuy hip recall lawsuit recently filed in Australia. The lawsuit is a class action, filed on behalf individuals who received the now recalled metal-on-metal hip replacement from DePuy Orthopedics.

According to Australia’s public broadcaster ABC, five thousand Australians had the DePuy ASR hip implanted between 2003 and 2009. Stanford had hers implanted in 2005. Like many other ASR hip recipients, Stanford required a hip revision surgery well short of the 15 years her device was expected to last. Just 6 years after receiving her hip, the metal-on-metal components of the hip had degenerated to the point of causing hip tissue inflammation and excruciating pain.

Stanford’s surgeon described a “black tar, gunky substance” that had to be scraped out of the hip socket during the revision procedure. To this day, Stanford suffers from those haunting images, is unable to walk without crutches, and incapable of teaching classes. Unfortunately, her story is a typical example of the thousands who may potentially join the DePuy class action lawsuit in Australia, or who file other similar claims worldwide.

Time line of the controversy surrounding the Depuy hip recall and resulting Australian litigation:

In 2008- a full year before DePuy announced they intended to stop actively selling the product and a full 2 years before additional warnings were provided to doctors regarding high failure rates- Australian registry information revealed convincing evidence that the DePuy ASR hips had higher than expected rates of failure.

In 2009, DePuy announced that slow sales of the ASR XL Acetabular hip system and ASR Hip Resurfacing System was the reason behind a sudden decision to phase out the product.

  • In March of 2009, the first US based lawsuit was filed against DePuy in response to a faulty ASR implant.
  • One year later, in March 2010, DePuy [finally] provided doctors with a warning that the implants could have a higher than normal failure rate.
  • The ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular hip system were recalled in August of 2010.
  • In February, 2011 a DePuy hip class action lawsuit is announced on behalf of Australian patients who currently have or have had removed- the now recalled hip implants.

DePuy hip complications reported worldwide include:

Tammy Stanford is not alone in her suffering. Approximately 93,000 DePuy hips have been implanted worldwide. Studies have shown a failure rate between 12 and 13% for the devices within 5 years of implantation. Many medical experts speculate that the rate may prove to be even higher than that already alarming statistic,  bringing an even greater number of lawsuits into courthouses all over the world.

The DePuy hip recall lawsuit on the world stage

Class action lawsuits have also been filed against DePuy in Canada and the United Kingdom. Lawsuits filed in the U.S. against DePuy Orthopedics have been consolidated in MultiDistrict Litigation pursuant to a ruling filed in late 2010. While no lawsuits have been filed in Ireland, there are approximately 400 ASR recipients in Ireland affected by the recall with the option to file class action or individual suits against DePuy.

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