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Zimmer Targeting NexGen Knee Implant Legal Advertising

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Zimmer Holdings Inc. is currently looking at scores of product liability lawsuits concerning some of its NexGen Flex knee replacement devices. Lawsuit numbers are expected to increase significantly. Now, in an unusual move, Zimmer is targeting plaintiff attorneys and accusing them of misrepresenting safety data in some legal advertising.

Apparently, said Bloomberg.com, Zimmer has gone so far as to sue seven law firms in 2011 and to issue warning letters to three others accusing lawyers of running ads and Internet postings that do not present, says Zimmer, its safety record accurately. Bloomberg.com also noted that Zimmer has subpoenaed two other law firms in the hopes of obtaining information on personal injury attorney networks; four other firms sued by Zimmer settled lawsuits and issued retractions.

Law professor David Logan, dean at Roger Williams University’s law school in Bristol, Rhode Island, told Bloomerg.com that Zimmer has fired a “shot across the bow to these plaintiffs’ firms …. It’s like putting a loaded gun on the table for negotiations. You’re saying, ‘Not only are we not going to give you money, we’re going to go after you as well.’”

Zimmer spokesman, Garry Glark, said the firm is simply trying to set the record straight concerning the some 3 million NexGen knee devices implanted since 1994.

The NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral Component, the device involved in the Zimmer strategy, is meant for doctors who prefer a device that promotes bone grown and fusion to the device, versus using cement, noted Bloomberg.com.

According to a report from NewsInfero, some lawsuits allege Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral Component is allegedly failing in patients sooner than it should. Last year, NewsInferno reported that data from a 108-patient study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that 36 patients who received that particular device and who underwent exams in the two years following surgery suffered from device loosening. Roughly 9 percent of patients examined in this time period had to undergo revision surgery because of both loosening and pain.

The NexGen knee replacement line includes about 40 different products, and Zimmer claims that the allegedly misleading legal advertising made it appear that all Zimmer NexGen products were problematic.

Zimmer is facing about 78 personal injury lawsuits involving NexGen knee components. As we’ve reported previously, including Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex femoral components, Zimmer NexGen MIS tibial components or Zimmer NexGen LPS-Flex femoral components. Recently, plaintiffs filed a motion to have the lawsuits consolidated in a multidistrict litigation.

According to Bloomberg, records from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration indicate various NexGen knee components have been involved in at least 58 recalls since 2002. All were listed as Class 2 recalls, a category of defects expected to cause only “temporary or medically reversible” health problems. None of the recalls involved the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex femoral component.

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