Johnson & Johnson, DePuy closing in on settlements for Pinnacle metal hip claims: reports

Johnson & Johnson is in talks to settle the majority of the 10,000 individual lawsuits brought by consumers against its DePuy unit over its metal-on-metal hip replacement devices, according to reports.

The news comes less than a month after J&J agreed to pay $120 million to settle state-level claims against DePuy’s marketing of the Pinnacle hip system. Forty-six state attorneys general had alleged that the companies made misleading claims regarding the implants’ longevity.

Under the January consent judgment, DePuy also agreed to base survivorship claims on the most recent data available from its registries, as well as maintain a postmarket surveillance and complaint handling program. It also agreed to update its operating procedures, training and tracking procedures for responding to complaints that do not meet the definition of reportable adverse events.

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According to a lawyer for some of the individual consumer plaintiffs, the parties are close to a deal to resolve most of the litigation, attorney Mark Lanier told Bloomberg and Reuters. Additional details were not disclosed.

Both the consumer and state plaintiffs claimed that DePuy had advertised that less than 1% of patients would need subsequent surgeries to replace or fix a failing device after three or five years.

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However, the National Joint Registry of England and Wales reported 7% revision rates at three years for the ASR XL hip implant, and a 4.28% five-year rate for the Pinnacle Ultamet device, according to the New York state attorney general’s office. DePuy halted sales of its metal-on-metal hip joints in 2013.

In August 2010, DePuy had recalled 93,000 ASR hip replacement systems worldwide after data showed a 12% failure rate within five years in devices designed to last for two decades.