These hip replacements not so hip

DePuy hip replacement units manufactured in the US but mostly sold overseas are starting to cause some serious problems. This link and quotes are from a story in the New York Times today.


A unit of Johnson & Johnson, just months after saying it was phasing out an artificial hip implant because of slowing sales, has warned doctors that the device appears to have a high early failure rate in some patients.

The action by the company, DePuy Orthopaedics, follows more than two years of reports that the hip implant, which is known as the ASR, was failing in patients only a few years after implant, requiring costly and painful replacement operations.

Some orthopedic experts have voiced dismay in recent interviews that DePuy had not halted sales of the device earlier. And some specialists said that they believed the device had a design flaw that made it difficult to implant properly, a claim disputed by DePuy officials, who had said the product had no safety problems. The director of an implant database in Australia, Dr. Stephen Graves, said the data had shown for some time that the ASR had been failing early at a significantly higher rate than some competitors’ devices. In December, DePuy voluntarily withdrew the ASR from the Australian market.

DePuy, of Warsaw, Ind., also announced late last year that it planned to phase out sales of the product worldwide by the end of 2010.

“It is way too late,” Dr. Graves said.

While the ASR is not widely used in the United States, DePuy officials said recently that it had been implanted in thousands of patients worldwide.

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