DePuy Settlement Approved in Australian Class Action
While DePuy Orthopaedics and parent company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), face thousands of plaintiffs who have filed a DePuy hip lawsuit in the U.S., they are also facing litigation in other countries around the world. Recently, an Australian judge approved a settlement between J&J and Australian patients who received an allegedly defective DePuy knee implant.
In 2010, the manufacturer implemented a DePuy hip recall of the ASR device because the failure rate was at an unacceptably high level. That same year, they reportedly also recalled certain knee implant components after receiving complaints of defects and related problems.
DePuy hip lawsuit filed over recalled knee component
The Australian settlement came about because of one patient who sued J&J on behalf of all patients who had received the DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral implant. The plaintiff, Pamela Casey, filed her class action lawsuit in March 2010.
The DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral Component is a knee implant manufactured by DePuy International Limited. The “Duofix” line of components has a dual surface coating intended to encourage rapid bone ingrowth and implant stability. The device was sold in Australia, the U.K., and other countries, but was not introduced in the United States.
DePuy hip recall withdraws LCS component
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.
Each member of class action to receive at least $30,000
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.