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According to an internal 2011 analysis, Johnson & Johnson estimated that its all-metal DePuy ASR hip device would fail within five years in nearly 40 percent of implanted patients. This was shortly after it recalled the defective hip implants in August 2010.

This internal audit never released those failure projections for the hip device, the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R. Johnson & Johnson in fact, downplayed similar findings from a British implant registry about the metal on metal hip device’s early failure rate.

First DePuy ASR California Trial

These smoking gun documents are expected to be key part of the plaintiff's evidence in an up coming trial to be held later this week in Los Angeles, California. The trial is expected to show what the officials of Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics division knew about the device’s problem before its recall and the actions they took or did not take to disclose all material facts.

The trial, is expected to begin Friday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, and if successful for the plaintiff, may pave the way for a settlement for the thousands of patients who had the DePuy ASR hip implanted. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson took a $3 billion special charge related to medical and legal costs associated with the device.

The Problem with DePuy ASR

The A.S.R. belonged to a class of hip implants where the cup and ball component are made of metal. Unfortunately as the ball and cup grind against each other, metallic particles can be released that damages a patient’s tissue and bone.

In 2011, the the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, the British implant registry updated its projected failure rates for A.S.R. patients, saying it was failing in one-third of them. It was that estimate that was challenged by DePuy.

DePuy Lawsuits

About 7,000 of the A.S.R. lawsuits have been consolidated in a federal court in Ohio. An additional 2,000 cases have been consolidated in a California state court. Hip implants, which are generally made from metal and plastic, often last for 15 years before they wear out and need to be replaced.

In pretrial testimony, Paul Voorhorst, DePuy’s director of biostatistics and data management, said that the company performed several reviews of A.S.R. failures in patients in fall 2011, a year after it recalled the model.

Based on the number of patients who had already undergone device replacement at the time, DePuy estimated that about 37 percent of patients who got an A.S.R. might need to have it replaced within five years of receiving it.

Read more about the upcoming defective DePuy ASR, Los Angeles, California Trial and visit my DePuy ASR website.

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