Does your hip replacement mfg. offer a warranty?



 From the New York Times:In January, William R. Morris’s artificial hip, just three years old, was failing so badly that it had to be replaced during an extensive procedure that cost about $50,000.

The maker of the failed hip has since sent letters to Mr. Morris’s doctor, but none offering to cover replacement expenses for the device, which typically is expected to last 15 years.

“They keep asking for the joint so they can look at it,” said Mr. Morris, a 52-year-old oil industry geologist who lives in Anchorage.

When a car breaks, a computer fails or a toaster flames out, the manufacturer is often liable under the product warranty. But that is not how the multibillion-dollar orthopedics industry tends to work, according to doctors, industry experts and three of the biggest device makers.

The million or so artificial hips and knees implanted each year in the United States, they say, are normally not guaranteed. Instead, the costs of replacing implants that fail early because of design or mechanical problems — devices that sell for as much as $15,000 each — are largely paid by Medicare, insurance companies and patients.

Implants can fail for many reasons, but if only a small percentage of them fail prematurely because they are substandard, the costs to taxpayers, policyholders and patients can run into the tens of millions of dollars each year, health care experts estimate.

Orthopedic producers may sometimes even profit from the failures because they sell the replacements at full price.

more at the New York Times link:

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