At least four hip implant manufacturers are facing class action lawsuits in Canada over claims that the implant devices break down prematurely and cause pain. One attorney blames competition and their ability to enter the market without the benefit of long-term testing. He feels that when fast-tracking products for market availability, regulators must distinguish between life-saving innovations, and those that improve comfort and lifestyle.
Dr. David Urbach, a surgeon with the University Health Network in Toronto said that Health Canada and the United States Food and Drug Administration require “fairly rudimentary, small studies on devices over a short period of time without a control group,” CBC News reported. Though Canada does have a joint replacement registry, it is optional, and with more devices flooding the market with sometimes-disastrous results, some Canadian physicians are called for mandatory device tracking and automatic patient notification when there is a device recall.
According to CBC News, the ECRI Institute in the United States, a non-profit group that researched patient care, has noted on their Health Devices Alert program a jump of 300 percent in the volume of medical device alerts from 1999 to 2009.