J&J braces international market for more metal hip problems

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Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) problems with all-metal hips are mushrooming globally. Already reeling from thousands of lawsuits in the U.S. over faulty ASR-model hips, the company is now warning doctors overseas to stop using another implant it once sold because of reliability issues.

The company's latest troubled hip plant is called Adept. Bloomberg reports that J&J acquired the product in 2009 from U.K. device maker Finsbury Orthopaedics, though it hasn't been sold since 2011. Concern over the product apparently stems from a U.K. database that determined 12% of patients who received the Adept hip implant endured problems and needed a second surgery to repair the device.

J&J is casting a wide net trying to address the issue. The company disclosed it distribute 7,500 of the Adept hips in 21 countries outside of the U.S., according to the Bloomberg piece, and that it notified doctors Jan. 14 with a safety notice about problems. The recommendation right now: Doctors should monitor Adept patients and treat them according to findings.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson is facing the first of some 10,000 lawsuits regarding the DePuy ASR implants, which have stirred up allegations that the company was aware of ASR's high failure rates a year before its stopped making the devices and two years before its massive 2010 recall. Patients claim that the implants scraped pieces of metal into the body, creating toxicity and tissue damage. And J&J is facing a rising amount of litigation over its Pinnacle metal hip implant, which is still on the market. FDA regulators, in the interim, are mulling new, tougher regulations for all-metal hips.

- read the Bloomberg story

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