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Thousands of patients fitted with faulty hip replacements

Mark Metherell October 10, 2011 Sydney Morning Herald

Painful ... 2700 hip prostheses were implanted last year, despite records showing 24 brands failing at twice the normal rate.

Painful … 2700 hip prostheses were implanted last year, despite records showing 24 brands failing at twice the normal rate.

MORE than 2000 patients were fitted last year with artificial hips shown to have high failure rates, exposing them to at least double the risk of needing painful and costly repeat surgery.

The latest figures on repeat joint surgery rates have been released as a Senate committee prepares to issue a critical report after delays in withdrawing the failure-prone DePuy hip prosthesis.

But despite records showing 24 brands of hip prostheses failing at twice the normal rate, 2700 were implanted last year. More than half of these involved products that had been identified at least two years ago as problem prone, the National Joint Replacement Registry shows.

A spokeswoman for the Therapeutic Goods Administration said an expert group would ”urgently consider” the figures.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has come under fire from surgeons and patient groups for the three years it took to act on the DePuy prosthesis produced by Johnson & Johnson.

The company withdrew the parts from the local market in late 2009 and issued a global recall of 93,000 DePuy implants in August 2010. It is dealing with 3500 claims and has paid $21 million to patients.

In Australia about 80,000 artificial hips and knees are implanted every year.

The metal-on-metal joints have also been linked to dramatically increased levels of cobalt and chrome leaching into surrounding flesh and muscle.

Robert Lugton, who had to have surgery for the revision of his DePuy hip, has condemned the lack of public warnings. He said that when his implant was done in January 2008 there was already damning evidence available.

The chief executive of the Australian Health Insurance Association, Michael Armitage, said the fresh evidence made ”a compelling case for the minister to insist the TGA take urgent action to ensure poorly performing joints are removed from use”.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/thousands-of-patients-fitted-with-faulty-hip-replacements-20111009-1lfxu.html#ixzz1aLKgP9Bz

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