. By Jane Mundy
At the beginning of this year, Stryker told shareholders it expects the recall to cost between $190 million and $390 million, but they might have to dig deeper after an FDA panel found several months later “almost no good reason” to use metal-on-metal (MOM) hip replacements, including the Stryker hip, after reviewing 17,000 reports of problems in about 500,000 patients with metal balls and sockets. Since July 2013, Stryker has forked over another $170 million (it already coughed up $400 million) to cover hip replacement lawsuits and revision surgeries due to its recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants.
On July 5, the US District Court, District of Minnesota issued the proceeding’s first Pretrial Order, which will establish preliminary procedures for the federal multidistrict litigation, or MDL. According to Court documents, the Court would hold the first Status Conference in the Stryker hip recall litigation on a date in August 2013, which will be set in a separate Order to be issued by the Court later this month. Court documents indicate that an additional 159 lawsuits have been transferred here (In re:Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2441).
The federal Stryker hip recall litigation, which originally saw 41 lawsuits transferred to the District of Minnesota for discovery and other pretrial proceedings, now has an additional 110 potentially related Stryker hip claims pending in a number of federal district courts that could also be eligible for transfer to the MDL.
In New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court, the Stryker hip litigation is underway: as of July 17, the parties have reached an agreement regarding the preservation of possible future claims against Stryker entities not currently named as defendants in the Multicounty Litigation, but that may be asserted as such at a later date, reported Bernstein Liebhard LLP (In re Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Stem and the ABG II Modular Hip Stem Litigation, No. 296). Court records indicate that 161 Stryker hip filings are pending in the New Jersey litigation.
All the plaintiffs in the lawsuits claim they suffered serious injuries from the Rejuvenate and ABG 11 stems, including metallosis, necrosis, osteolysis and premature device failure, due to the propensity of fretting and corroding at the device’s modular neck junction.
Further, patients may also be at risk for adverse local tissue reactions characterized by pain and swelling around the hip joint, according to Stryker. The company that expects to see from 4 percent to 5.5 percent sales growth for 2013, topping out at about $9.2 billion, is now advising all patients with their recalled Stryker implants to undergo medical screening to ensure their hips are functioning properly, regardless of their symptoms. Stryker doesn’t say whether they are footing the bill.