One of the surgeons responsible for the design of the DePuy ASR metal on metal hip implant has testified at a trial currently going on in Los Angeles at the state court level. His testimony reveals some startling information about the way complaints are reported and the failure rates that even experienced medical professionals could expect.
Earlier in the trial, DePuy employees suggested that complaints made in regards to the all-metal implants were to travel to the company’s vigilance and complaint department. However, the head of the ASR surgeon design team points out that any complaints he received about the device or any instances of a revision surgery were handed over to the marketing department. When asked about the vigilance department, the surgeon expressed ignorance at the vigilance department’s very existence and says he couldn’t even point out the head of such a department.
The surgeon’s testimony also revealed that his own implantations suffered from unreasonably high failure rates. Of 39 devices he had implanted prior to 2007, he claims that no failures had occurred at that time. Cut to 2013, and 15 of the 66 ASR devices he’s implanted have reportedly failed, a rate which he believes will go up still. He says he sought to explain to surgeons how to place the device properly so as to limit the potential for failure. Still, leading surgeons around the world have expressed dissatisfaction with the items’ design.
The surgeon questioned has received an estimated $3.6 million worth of royalties from the DePuy ASR.