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Johnson & Johnson Reserves Almost $1 Billion for DePuy Victims

The Rottenstein Law Group has learned that Johnson & Johnson has set aside an amount close to one billion dollars to cover the costs, including compensation in the forms of litigation awards and settlements, stemming from the recall of defective hip replacement devices manufactured and sold by its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics.

According to an announcement made this week by Johnson & Johnson, the company had sales of $15.64 billion for the fourth quarter of 2010. Worldwide sales for 2010 were reported at $61.6 billion. Fourth-quarter 2010 net earnings included after-tax charges of $922 million representing money set aside to cover litigation settlements and awards and other costs associated with the DePuy ASR Hip recall.

In August of 2010, DePuy announced a global hip replacement recall of two devices: the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System. Each unit replaces a worn or weakened part of the hip. Many orthopedic doctors believe that the units were poorly designed. The implants can generate debris from wear, causing inflammation and tissue damage in recipients. 93,000 persons worldwide had an ASR device implanted.

DePuy, a Johnson & Johnson company, recalled its ASR devices globally after the National Joint Registry of England and Wales made public data showing that, within five years, about 12% of recipients of the hip resurfacing system and about 13% of recipients of the acetabular system needed corrective surgery.

In addition, it appears that DePuy’s other metal-on-metal implant line might also have significant design defects. Hundreds of lawsuits have been started by recipients of ASR devices; so far only a small number of suits allege fault with DePuy’s Pinnacle system, however. Nonetheless, the United States Food and Drug Administration has received more than 500 negative reports about Pinnacle devices, most of them involving severe pain and/or doctors’ findings of metal ions shed by the devices into patients’ bloodstreams and surrounding tissue, according to data available at the FDA’s Web site.

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