Reports that DePuy’s ASR XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System failed more often than hip replacements are supposed to reached DePuy Orthopaedics long before it issued the recall. The question then, is why didn’t the DePuy hip replacement recall occur sooner? Why didn’t the company act more quickly when it knew there was a problem? One answer cropped up in an October 28 Internet conference between DePuy president, David Floyd, and orthopedists who had implanted their patients with DePuy’s hip implants. When asked why the recall occurred suddenly in August 2010 rather than in March when DePuy discontinued the products, President Floyd said:
“There are regulations, including those of the FDA, that govern our actions in these situations. Although [the ASR hip replacement system] had been discontinued, there were still products on the shelves in various countries around the world. So recall is a required method of retrieving that product and ensuring it does not get implanted. Once we notified the regulators, which we were obligated to do [under the Safe Medical Device Act and related federal regulations] they publicly post the information, often very quickly. When that happens, the media pick it up, often immediately, and then broadly report it.”
The FDA and the media are not responsible for DePuy’s incompetence. More likely, DePuy hoped that discontinuing sales of the hip replacements would be sufficient and the problem would just go away. Of course it didn’t. The ASR hip replacements’ defectiveness became public knowledge, and the company was caught. Perhaps if DePuy could have removed the implants from the shelves more quietly, it would have. Instead, President Floyd played dumb:
“DePuy is continually evaluating data regarding the performance of our devices. Data sources evaluated…include country registries and health authority databases.”
The Australian National Joint Registry sounded warnings on the DePuy hip replacements in 2006. Maybe DePuy would’ve known its devices were ineffective if it had subjected them to a more substantial government review process.
DePuy and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, have done this before. DePuy waited until last summer to recall a knee implant. J&J issued a “phantom recall” by hiring a contractor to buy up one of its defective products off the market. Don’t let DePuy blame the media or the government for its failure to behave in the marketplace. If you’ve been affected by the DePuy recall and want compensation, contact the Rottenstein Law Group.