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Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
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Trial: J&J DePuy ASR Metal Hip Design Failure

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According to a plaintiff's expert witness, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) failed its own safety test in designing an all-metal hip implant and then changed the test protocol instead of fixing the problem. The expert witness, George Samaras, testified today in the first of 10,000 lawsuits to go to trial in Los Angeles, California.

Scope of the Problem: 93,000 ASR Hips Recalled

J&J recalled 93,000 ASR hips in 2010 after saying 12 percent failed within five years. According to another expert witness, the Australian government 2012 data, revealed that the all metal hip implant had a 44 percent failure rate at seven years.

Battle of the Experts

According to Samaras, J&J’s DePuy unit failed the safety standard it set up for the ASR hip cup. Samaras, quoted an internal company document that showed the ASR metal hip implant produced 16 times more chromium and cobalt metallic debris in the body than another DePuy product.

According to expert testimony, DePuy’s original design criteria stated that the ASR had to be as good as older devices at the company. When that failed, DePuy found other metal hip devices for comparisons that put the ASR in a better position. Samaras continued, “they changed the test…they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, which is change the design.”

John Baron, an expert epidemiologist testified that Australian national registry data showed that the ASR XL failed at a rate of 22 percent after five years and 44 percent after seven years. According to Baron, the five-year rate, “hits you between the eyes.” Further he continued, “the ASR XL total hip replacement fails at a much higher rate than a typical hip replacement.”

Kransky's Doctor Testifies

Daniel C. Brooke, Kransky's doctor testified discussing surgery to replace the 2007 ASR hip implant. Kransky underwent revision surgery to remove the device in February 2012. According to Brooke, Kransky’s levels of chromium and cobalt debris were “very alarming.” Kransky’s multiple medical problems led the doctor to believe he might not survive the surgery.

The Kransky case is Kransky v. DePuy, BC456086, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County (Los Angeles).