Stryker Settles Suits by Hip Implant Patients for $1 Billion
By BARRY MEIERNOV. 3, 2014
Stryker, the major producer of artificial hip implants, said on Monday that it had reached a settlement of thousands of patient lawsuits involving now-recalled all-metal devices that is expected to cost the company about $1 billion.
The Stryker deal, negotiated with lawyers representing the patients, would be one of the highest amounts paid in the last year by an implant manufacturer to resolve claims by patients who said they were injured by a hip replacement in which a device’s ball and cup components were both made from metal.
Last November, the DePuy division of Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay about $2.5 billion to resolve lawsuits filed by 8,000 patients who said they were injured by an all-metal implant that it once sold, known as the Articular Surface Replacement or A.S.R.
All-metal implants once accounted for about one of every three devices used in the estimated 250,000 hip replacement procedures that are performed annually in this country. The devices have been largely abandoned after evidence emerged several years ago that the metal components could rub together, creating tiny particles of metallic debris that could severely damage a patient’s tissue and muscle.
In announcing the settlement, Stryker, which is based in Kalamazoo, Mich., said that it covered patients who had received the Rejuvenate Modular-Neck or the ABG II Modular-Neck and who underwent operations to have the implant replaced. Stryker recalled both models in 2012 as complaints increased.
Stryker said that it had set aside $1.45 billion to settle the claims but that it expected the eventual expenses to be higher.
“This settlement program provides patients compensation in a fair, timely and efficient manner,” said William J. Huffnagle, the president of Stryker Orthopaedics.
Since abandoning all-metal implants, surgeons have returned to devices made of a mix of materials, such as plastic and metal.