Stryker faces more lawsuits over hip implants

Stryker ($SYK) is still mired in the fallout from its faulty Rejuvenate hip implants, now facing 7 more lawsuits from patients who claim they suffered blood contamination from the recalled devices.

The plaintiffs allege that Stryker negligently developed, tested, manufactured, distributed, marketed and sold its defective device. They are seeking undisclosed compensatory, consortium, actual and punitive damages.

In July, Stryker announced a full-scale recall of the devices, halting worldwide production over the risk of adverse events, including pain, swelling and device corrosion that could lead to heavy metal toxicity. That voluntary recall is "a clear admission by Stryker that its product is defective and dangerous," said Cal Warriner of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, a firm representing 8 patients suing the company.

"Stryker marketed its devices as an improvement over and alternative to other metal-on-metal hip implants, when in fact these systems have caused significantly more severe injuries than comparable systems on the market," Warriner said in a statement.

The 7 new plaintiffs join another who filed suit in August, and all of them were implanted with Rejuvenate between between June 2009 and September 2011, the firm says. Each patient needed corrective procedures as a result, according to the firm, and their revision surgeries revealed heavy metal toxicity, including "the presence of milky, turbid fluid; large pseudotumor formation; soft tissue necrosis; muscle loss and/or bony necrosis at the proximal femur," according to the lawsuit.

Stryker's woes over Rejuvenate are hardly unique. Metal-on-metal hip implants have fallen out of favor around the industry as numerous studies point out that they are more prone to failure and corrosion than their plastic counterparts. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) recalled about 100,000 of its all-metal DePuy hip implants in 2010 over similar concerns, and an FDA panel recently recommended against prescribing the techs, saying the risk of the devices breaking down and releasing metallic flotsam into the bloodstream is too great to warrant use.

- read the release

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