Saturday, December 29, 2012

DePuy Settlement Approved in Australian Class Action

Australian plaintiff Pamela Casey filed a DePuy lawsuit in 2010, claiming problems with the LCS Duofix Femoral knee implant. Though the implant was withdrawn from the Australian market in 2009, thousands of patients were implanted with the device. According to the settlement agreement, those who had to go through revision surgery will receive about $31,000 each. Meanwhile, DePuy also faces thousands of plaintiffs who have filed a DePuy hip lawsuit in the U.S. because of DePuy hip complications with the ASR or the Pinnacle implants. The ASR was removed from the market in the 2010 DePuy hip recall.

According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)—part of the Australian government that is responsible for regulating therapeutic goods—J&J recalled all batches of the LCS Duofix Knee Replacement Femoral Component and voluntarily ceased supply of the product in Australia in July 2009. The TGA became aware of issues with the component after hospitals and surgeons notified the Australian sponsor, J&J Medical Pty Ltd., of problems with the implant.

DePuy conducted an investigation and later stated, “microscopic particles of a substance used in the manufacturing process may sometimes enter the area surrounding the implant. While the particles do not react with the body, they may potentially cause increased wear of the implant and subsequent symptoms of pain and swelling.” The TGA received over 100 adverse event reports for the component.

Under the terms of the DePuy settlement, patients who received the LCS Duofix Femoral knee implant who had to undergo revision surgery will receive about $31,000 each. Those who required two or three additional surgical procedures will receive $65,000 each. More may be awarded in certain cases, determined on an individual basis.

Meanwhile, J&J and DePuy face thousands more plaintiffs who have filed complaints concerning the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant. The ASR was withdrawn from the market in the 2010 DePuy hip recall. Additional lawsuits have been filed concerning problems with the Pinnacle system, which is also a metal-on-metal device. Both have been linked with DePuy hip complications including pain, instability, metal contamination, swelling, premature loosening, and implant failure.
So far, J&J has agreed to settlements with plaintiffs in three DePuy hip lawsuits filed in Nevada, paying about $200,000 each.

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