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New Zealand Reports Spike In DePuy ASR Hip Implant Removal Surgeries

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New Zealand is reporting a spike in DePuy ASR hip implant revision surgeries. The DePuy ASR hip device was recalled in 2010. DePuy is a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

The last available data, released in December 2010, indicated that 7% of those patients implanted with the faulty DePuy ASR had to undergo revision. Now, said The New Zealand Herald (NZ Herald), the number has jumped to 23%, according to hip registry figures on the conventional total hip.

DePuy recalled the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR Acetabular Hip Implant System, worldwide, in August 2010, following release of data by Great Britain’s National Joint Registry of England and Wales that revealed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the devices required revision surgery within 5 years of receiving it. Since issuing the ASR hip implant recalls, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have been named in at least 5,000 U.S. product liability lawsuits that have been filed on behalf of people who allegedly suffered early implant failures.

At the time of the ASR hip implant recall, the ASR hip surface replacement device—a device and procedure in which the ball of the patient’s hip is resurfaced with metal, and which revealed a similar failure rate—was also recalled, noted the NZ Herald.

Both devices utilize a cobalt and chromium metal cup, which has been at the root of controversy regarding the health of patients implanted with the metal devices.

The surface replacement devices have also seen high revision rates—10%—in New Zealand, and a group of New Zealanders is taking legal action in Great Britain against DePuy, noted the NZ Herald. Although rejected in the United States, the ASR resurfacing product was sold elsewhere, including in New Zealand and Ireland. The ASR total hip replacement received U.S. approval through the controversial fast-tracking program [510(k)] that enables product approval for devices deemed similar to already approved products without human or extensive trials, noted the NZ Herald.

In the U.S., lawsuits involving the DePuy ASR hip implant were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in federal court in Ohio; at least 900 more lawsuits are pending against an all-metal version of DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implant, which plaintiffs allege is similar in design and leads to the same complications as the ASR.

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