DePuy’s Hip Recall

 

ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Resurfacing hip systems (ASR hips) were recalled in August 2010. DePuy Orthopedics and Johnson and Johnson manufacture these defective products. Following the recall, DePuy Orthopedics and Johnson & Johnson have aggressively defended the hip failure lawsuits that have been filed against them.  The ASR hips have an exceptionally high rate of revision surgeries within a short period of time following the first hip implant surgery.  The metal-on-metal design of the ASR hips leads to metal particles entering into the bloodstream of the person with the ASR hip. The metal particles in the bloodstream cause severe metal poisoning.  The metal poisoning and the general defective design of the ASR hips have also led to dislocation, hip mal-alignment issues and bone fractures. These issues were the main reason for the ASR hip recall.

DePuy and Johnson & Johnson immediately instituted a “medical bill reimbursement program” upon realizing the legal implications of the defective ASR hips.   This program allows DePuy to pay for medical bills associated with the follow-up care and treatment for defective ASR hip device, including any potential revision surgeries.  However, DePuy has required ASR hip users to obtain a claims number and sign a medical authorization release The medical authorization release violates many of the users’ rights.  This release authorizes DePuy to gain access and information about ASR users’ potential case that DePuy would not otherwise have.  For instance, the release allows DePuy, through the company that DePuy has hired to handle this program−Broadspire−to speak directly with the ASR user, his or her physicians, and obtain the ASR device if there is a need for revision surgery.  If DePuy takes physical possession of the ASR device, the potential client’s case will be severely compromised.

Through the efforts of the MDL Plaintiffs’ leadership committee (PSC), DePuy has recently agreed refrain from having clients sign the releases and has also agreed to pay for ASR users’ medical bills.  However, the ASR user should not communicate with DePuy or Broadspire directly.  Instead, potential clients should allow their products liability lawyer to handle any medical billing issues because DePuy and/or Broadspire can record any communications over the phone with the ASR user and use that information against the potential client. Therefore, if ASR hip users are interested in this reimbursement program, it would be in their best interest to hire a product liability lawyer to act on their behalf when dealing with DePuy or Broadspire regarding payment of their medical bills.

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