Beshear Secures nearly $1.5 Million for Kentucky in Settlement with Hip Implant Manufacturer

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary allegedly made misleading claims on longevity of hip implants 

FRANKFORT, KY. (Jan. 22, 2019) – Attorney General Andy Beshear has secured nearly $1.5 million for Kentucky from a settlement with a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary for allegedly making misleading claims to Kentuckians on the longevity of its hip implants.

Beshear and the coalition of state attorneys general recently reached a multi-million-dollar multistate settlement with Depuy Orthopedics to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully promoted its metal-on-metal hip implant devices – the ASR XL and the Pinnacle Ultamet.

The AGs allege that DePuy advertised the ASR XL hip implant as having a longevity, also known as survivorship, of 99.2 percent at three years. Similarly, DePuy promoted the Pinnacle Ultamet as having a survivorship of 99.8 percent and 99.9 percent survivorship at five years.

The National Joint Registry of England and Wales, however, collected data demonstrating that more patients required hip implant revisions than the company reported.

Survivorship of an implant measures the success of hip replacement surgery and determines if any revisions are needed.

Beshear said the group of AGs found that some patients who required hip implant revision surgery to replace a failed ASR XL or Pinnacle Ultamet implant experienced persistent groin pain, allergic reactions, tissue necrosis, as well as a build-up of metal ions in the blood.

“This company clearly chose profits over people by allegedly engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices,” Beshear said. “Many of the hip implant recipients, some of them Kentuckians, endured grueling medical setbacks from these devices. While we cannot take back their pain and suffering, we can and are holding Depuy accountable for its careless actions.”

Beshear said the ASR XL was recalled from the market in 2010, and the Depuy discontinued its sale of the Pinnacle Ultamet in 2013.

As part of the settlement, Depuy has agreed to reform how it markets and promotes its other hip implants.

With the nearly $1.5 million Depuy settlement, Beshear has returned nearly $5.5 million since the beginning of the year to the state’s General Fund for lawmakers to appropriate during the 2020 legislative budget session. Along with Depuy, the settlements include Chrysler Fiat/Bosch, Neiman Marcus Group LLC, for-profit college company Career Education Corp. and Wells Fargo.

Bordering states participating in the $120-million Multistate Depuy Settlement include Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia.

Beshear currently has two other lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson – a civil suit against Johnson & Johnson and its medical device unit, Ethicon, for its alleged deceptive marketing of surgical transvaginal mesh, and an opioid lawsuit against Janssen, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, for allegedly flooding Kentucky with dangerous opioids and contributing to the state’s drug epidemic.