Johnson & Johnson to pay $1 billion for faulty hip implants

Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability litigation, 11-md-2244, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas). The computer navigation and imaging system enables the medical team to determine an exact surgical site and angle at which hip implants should be placed, minimizing the incision and encouraging quick recovery.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) suffered another tough legal blow on Thursday, when a federal jury in Dallas ordered its DePuy Orthopaedics division to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs who alleged that they were injured by the company's Pinnacle hip implants. This led to the device having to be surgically removed.

J&J and DePuy also paid $2.5 billion that year to settle more than 7,000 lawsuits over its ASR metal-on-metal hip devices.

"Each of the six plaintiffs in the trial had to undergo revision surgeries to replace the implants and fix the damage", according to the statement.

J&J's DePuy faces allegations that the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip was defectively designed and caused metal debris to leech into patients' bloodstreams.

The jury is telling J&J that they better settle these cases soon. "DePuy acted appropriately and responsibly in the design and testing of ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal, and the product is backed by a strong track record of clinical data showing reduced pain and restored mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain".

The 6 plaintiffs reported injuries such as tissue death and bone erosion that they blamed on the device design.

"I am pleased to see the punitive damages being assessed on J&J in these cases" stated attorney Laurence P. Banville.

In the first MDL bellwether trial in October 2014, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson and DePuy. Plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier told Reuters that Johnson & Johnson rejected a $1.8 million settlement offer from the plaintiffs before trial.

A fourth bellwether trial is scheduled for September 2017.

Sarah Moore, solicitor for the UK Pinnacle Ultamet litigation, said: "The latest verdict from the USA underscores the fact that Depuy marketed a product, implanted into thousands of people worldwide, which has caused patients to suffer significant pain, injury and revision surgery as a direct result of Depuys' Pinnacle Ultamet device".

  • Joanne Flowers