In February 2012, the British Medical Journal published an article authored by investigations editor Deborah Cohen emphasizing the inadequate premarket testing metal-on-metal hip replacements received before being used in patients. The article mentioned the problems associated with the recalled ASR XL Acetabular System, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, and another DePuy Orthopaedics hip, the Pinnacle. In an unusual move due to the thousands of hip replacement lawsuits it faces, DePuy submitted a response to the British Medical Journal metal-on-metal hip article.
Manufacturer Does Not Discuss the ASR
DePuy’s rebuttal article, written by Graham Isaac and Simon Sinclair, opens with, “We highlight some of the factual errors and omissions in Deborah Cohen’s article on the safety of metal-on-metal  hip implants with regard to such hip implants in general and the DePuy ULTAMET implant in particular—one option used with the Pinnacle acetabular cup system.” Apparently, DePuy was more concerned about defending the earlier Pinnacle model than the ASR, but its statements suggest that it wants readers to believe that the ASR is like all other all-metal hip replacements. Moreover, DePuy defended all-metal hips by claiming that manufacturers researched metal-on-metal technology in earnest because polyethylene implants caused so much bone damage.
In early May, Cohen shot back a lengthy response, accusing the DePuy authors of both “sidestepping substantive issues” and straw-manning her by claiming she asserted that DePuy deliberately concealed the risk of metal toxicity caused by particles flaking off the implants. Instead, she said, her article discussed the medical device industry-wide concern that metal ions were potentially carcinogenic. Returning to her focus on the regulatory failure to prevent potentially harmful all-metal hip implants from coming to the market, Cohen closes, “All in all, we feel that this article was not ‘unnecessarily alarmist’, but it provided a necessarily alarming portrait of the state of medical device regulation today.”
DePuy submitted a second response that emphasized unaddressed “factual errors and omissions” in Cohen’s original piece.
RLG Represents People Injured by Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements
DePuy has gone to great lengths to protect its reputation, going so far as to offer response articles to the British Medical Journal metal-on-metal hip article. Interestingly, none of the other all-metal hip manufacturers Cohen mentioned in her first article submitted their own pieces. Meanwhile, DePuy continues to offer reimbursement to ASR recipients, but those who have not talked to a lawyer should be wary of accepting them because the amount of compensation from a hip replacement lawsuit might be greater than DePuy’s reimbursement. If you received an ASR device, and you believe it injured you, click on this link or call 1-877-312-3274 and a hip lawyer from the Rottenstein Law Group will give you a free, confidential consultation.
For more information on the hip replacement recall, download this free brochure.