Thanks, in part, to aggressive advertising geared toward younger consumers and aging baby boomers, the number of Americans receiving hip and knee implants annually is expected to quadruple to 4 million by the year 2030. It is expected that by that time that 50 percent of the patients receiving implants will be under the age of 65.
The fact that most knee and hip replacements are not backed by a manufacturer’s warranty is a huge concern for these younger patients. These patient will need the replacement to last for a longer time if they get the implant at a younger age, and deserve to know how long medical device makers are will stand by their products.
The policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, Consumer Union, has called on medical device manufacturers to provide a warranty that would allow patients to have defective devices replaced at no cost. Warranties would not only encourage manufacturers to produce a safer and more durable implant, but would also give patients a better understanding of how long the device is expected to last and what to do if their implant fails prematurely.
Currently, the cost for additional surgery and replacement of the defective device is predominately paid by patients or their insurance companies, including Medicare. Revision surgeries are more costly, lead to longer hospital stays, and could require additional surgeries. Costs for these procedures are likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars and it is estimated that 8 percent of all knee replacements and 18 percent of hip replacement surgeries in the U.S. are for revisions.
In a review of recalls for hip and knee implants, Consumer Union found that all major manufacturers have recalled a product, or line of products, during the last decade. The Johnson & Johnson ASR XL metal-on-metal hip implant is one of the most worrisome recent examples. Their device was recalled after national registries indicated that one in eight of the implants failed within five years in Australia, England and Wales. Debilitating symptoms from metal debris flaking off the device over time, such as cardiomyopathy and neurological problems, have been reported by some patients.
Unfortunately, under current law, manufacturers need only to prove that their product is “substantially equivalent” to a product already being sold in order to get their device to market. Since most new hip and knee implants are similar to ones already on the market, this fast-track clearance process, called 510(k), allows many new devices to be used without being reviewed for safety and effectiveness by the FDA.
Efforts by Consumer Union to urge Congress to require more premarket testing of hip and knee implants were blocked by the politically powerful medical device industry at last year’s reauthorization of the Medical Device User Fee Act.
Hip Impant Lawsuit Attorneys
If you or someone you love has experienced complications after a metal-on-metal hip implant, it is important to know that you are not alone. The national hip implant lawsuit attorneys at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our hip implant lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.