The first of many lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson over the company’s 2010 recall of hip replacements has begun in Los Angeles.
According to a Reuters report, 66-year-old Loren Kransky is alleging that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy knew their implants could release metal into patients’ bodies. DePuy contends that Kransky was a life-long smoker with diabetes and kidney cancer, and that the company’s tests did not find that their implants released enough metal to be a health problem.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about all-metal hip implants. Those types of implants can release small bits of metal particles when patients walk or run while using them. The particles can cause damage to the soft tissue and bone around the implant and joint. The metal debris can also cause adverse reactions in some patients, causing the implant to fail and requiring surgery to replace it. The agency warned doctors against all-metal implants, suggesting instead that alternative hip implants, such as metal-on-polyethylene, ceramic-on-polyethylene, ceramic-on-ceramic, or ceramic-on-metal implants, be used instead.
Opening arguments in the trial began on January 25. According to Reuters, more than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed since the hip implants were recalled. The recall was a voluntary one by DePuy, and the company also set up a patient reimbursement program to pay for patients’ medical bills and other costs related to the recall.