Biomet target of metal hip lawsuit

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Fallout over the use of all-metal hip implants continues to erupt, and this time it is hitting Biomet. A patient implanted with the company's M2a Magnum Hip System is suing the Indiana device maker for damages, claiming that the implant was toxic and also destroyed surrounding bone and tissue.

The Greenville News in South Carolina reports that the patient--Tony Bishop--is a 41-year-old ex-janitor who claims the Biomet product also left toxic amounts of cobalt and chromium after doctors performed the implant in October 2006. Additionally, he can't work any more, Bishop alleges in his suit, and now faces even more health risks after doctors made the decision to remove the hip system in November.

The lawsuit against Biomet also alleges that the M2a Magnum needed better testing, and gained an improper approval because the company was secretive about negative data generated by product-related clinical trials.

Biomet referred questions to an attorney, according to the story, who could not be reached for comment. But the case falls into what has become a giant ocean of lawsuits against Biomet and several other manufacturers who have marketed all-metal hips. J&J/DePuy ($JNJ) has faced the largest fallout. More than 8,000 lawsuits are pending against the company over faulty ASR branded metal-on-metal hips, and the company pursued a massive global recall in 2010 after safety concerns escalated. 

Biomet, whose hip and knee implant sales have been sluggish, is also among 20 devicemakers asked to pursue post-marketing studies looking at the safety of their all-metal implants, including specific issues such as whether their hip implants poisoned patients' blood with dangerous levels of metals.

- read the story

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Three J&J hip implant lawsuits down, 8,000 to go