Some experts fear all-metal hip implants could become one of the biggest and most costly medical implant problems in recent history.Metal-on-metal hip implants accounted for nearly one-third of the estimated 250,000 Zimmer hip replacement recall performed each year. According to one estimate, some 500,000 patients have received an all-metal replacement hip. It is believed the devices can shed dangerous amounts of cobalt and chromium through wear, leading to tissue damage, premature device Zimmer hip failure, the need for revision surgery, and even long-term health problems. Symptoms discussed in the Times’ article include pain, rashes, and inflammation. Unfortunately, many metal-hip implant recipients who sustain tissue damage have no symptoms, making it difficult to determine if their device should be removed.
While Zimmer’s own estimates in 2008 suggested that some doctors in the United States experienced failure rates as high as 5.7%, more recent claims made in Zimmer Durom Cup lawsuits suggest that the artificial Zimmer hip implant failure is between 20% and 30%.In July 2008, the manufacturer decided to suspend U.S. sales of the product, but a Zimmer Durom Cup recall was not issued since they did not uncover evidence of any manufacturing defect or design defect. Over 12,000 people in the United States have had a Zimmer Durom Cup implanted during their hip replacement surgery. Hundreds of these people could experience loosening of the component and the need for additional surgeries which was caused by the negligence of Zimmer Holdings, Inc.
Zimmer Holdings, Inc. reported last year that it is setting aside $75 million to resolve current and future lawsuits over their Durom Cup hip replacement system. In October 2008, Zimmer disclosed that they had set aside $47.5 million to settle Durom Cup claims, and they indicated during their fourth-quarter of 2008 earnings report that the reserves had been increased to $69 million. The $75 million reported this quarter appears to be in addition to that amount. In June, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to consolidate and centralize all lawsuits over the Zimmer hipreplacement in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for pretrial litigation.