Metal on metal hip implants have created some unforeseen results, causing the company responsible for the product to reach a legal settlement. Facing hip lawsuits, Wright Medical has agreed to settle the matter by paying out nearly $90 million to over 600 complainants. That settlement puts a six year legal battle to rest, initiated by multiple patients who claimed to have been physically harmed by the implants.
Wright Medical Expanded a Previous Settlement
The $90 million settlement was established on October 3rd and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It puts an end to suits filed in an Atlanta federal court, as well as suits filed in California state court, affecting plaintiffs who have been forced to undergo revision surgery to replace the faulty metal on metal hip replacement devices. The defective units were a part of Wright Medical’s Conserve, Dynasty, and Lineage hip replacement models.
This latest settlement follows a previous settlement for $240 million, which was reached in November of last year in response to over 1,300 lawsuits against the company. As with the new cases, customers filed lawsuits in response to faulty hip replacements that required new purchases and revision surgeries to correct the problem. In that prior settlement, each patient receiving a substandard Conserve implant was awarded an average settlement of $170,000 each, while recipients of the Dynasty and Lineage model implants were awarded $120,000 per person.
The new $90 million settlement is an expansion of the first settlement and attempts to resolve the issue once and for all. The payment is intended to cover damages for those customers who either declined the first settlement or filed their suits after the first settlement went into effect. The new settlement also provides coverage for those patients whose implants failed, after the statute of limitations on the lawsuit expired. Wright Medical will distribute payouts according to pre-established priorities.
$7.9 million will be distributed to settle the 49 claims left over from the original Hip lawsuit.
$5.1 million will go to the oldest individuals who filed suits.
The remaining $76.75 million will settle all remaining claims filed as of October 1, 2017.
Wright Medical expects to have finished distributing payments by September 2019.
What Led to So Many Hip Lawsuits?
As far back as 2010, patients were beginning to report problems with Conserve hip replacement devices, which required revision surgery within five years of receiving the implants. Some of the problems reported included hips failing, metallosis (the build-up of metal debris in the soft tissues of the body), muscle tissue damage, bone damage, and a loosening of the device.
Patients with the Dynasty and Lineage models reported similar problems with their Wright Medical implants. While this would seem to be a case of one company selling faulty products, the problem is actually more widespread than that. The fact that several other medical device manufacturers are facing similar hip lawsuits over metal-on-metal hip replacement devices indicates the problems faced by patients may be common to the nature of metal-on-metal implants of any type.
Among the other manufacturers facing lawsuits over their hip replacement products are Biomet, Inc. for their M2a Magnum Hip Implant; DePuy Orthopaedics for their ASR Hip Implant; DePuy Orthopaedics, who sells the Pinnacle Hip Implant; and Zimmer Holdings, which sells the Durom Hip Cup.
The lawsuits faced by all of these companies for metal-on-metal hip replacements have not escaped the attention of the federal government. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered manufacturers to begin monitoring reports of problems with the devices. Additionally, the agency implemented a new program in 2016 in which manufacturers must apply for pre-approval for some types of metal-on-metal hip replacement devices, before marketing them to U.S. customers. The Pre-Market Approval (PMA) process requires the company to demonstrate the product’s safety and effectiveness to the agency.
Learn more about Medical Device Lawsuits.