Just two years after Johnson & Johnson pulled ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement devices from the market and set aside $3 billion for some 3,000 ASR lawsuits, the number of lawsuits filed against the manufacturer over a metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip system continues to grow, with 1,600 lawsuits currently filed in courts across the country.
According to an article by Reuters, many Pinnacle implant recipients are experiencing the same types of problems as patients have complained about in the ASR lawsuits, namely limited mobility, swelling and pain, and dislocation.
Reuters reports that 500,000 metal-on-metal hip devices have been implanted in patients in the US, and 37,000 of those are ASR devices, while 150,000 patients have received Pinnacle systems. An FDA panel recently announced that given the risks with the metal-on-metal devices, including the rate of failure and the possibility for the devices to shed high levels of cobalt and chromium into the blood stream, t there is no reason for surgeons to continue to use the devices. This decision involved all metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, including those by other manufacturers, not just those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and their DePuy subsidiary.
Dr. Mary O’Conner with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida said that she never uses metal-on-metal devices, explaining that “Autopsy studies of patients with metal-on-metal implants showed metal ions were everywhere in the body – in the liver, the spleen, all over the place.”