Hundreds of patients lose High Court battle over ‘defective’ hip implants that ‘leave them 100 times more likely to need another replacement’
- It is thought to be one of the biggest’ product liability’ group actions in the UK
- The implants were said to release metal particles into surrounding tissue
- A four-month hearing centred implant which were taken out of use in 2013
Today Mrs Justice Andrews ruled that DePuy is not liable to the claimants.
Hundreds of patients have lost their High Court battle over allegedly ‘defective’ hip implants.
In what is believed to be one of the largest ‘product liability’ group actions in the UK, a group of 312 claimants brought High Court proceedings against manufacturer DePuy over allegations relating to the failure of metal-on-metal implants.
The four-month hearing centred on Pinnacle Ultamet implants, which were taken out of circulation in 2013.
It concerned the issue of ‘whether or not the defendant is liable to the claimant, subject to any development risk defence’.
It was reported that these Pinnacle Ultamet implants released metal particles which caused surrounding tissue to die, and made it 100 times more likely patients would need another replacement
The legal teams representing the 312 claimants said in a statement that they were ‘extremely disappointed’ by the judgment
Today, Mrs Justice Andrews ruled that DePuy is not liable to the claimants.
The action was brought on behalf of patients who claim to have been injured as a result of the early failure and consequent revision surgery of their metal-on-metal prosthetic hips.
Hundreds more metal-on-metal claims against a number of other manufacturers were put on hold pending the outcome of the trial.
The legal teams representing the claimants said in a statement that they were ‘extremely disappointed’ by the judgment.
Why was action brought against DePuy?
It was reported that is was 100 times more likely recipients would need a replacement, because the implants released metal particles which caused surrounding tissue to die.
The hip implants were brought into use in 2002, and began being sold i the UK in 2004.
12,000 of them were sold in the UK alone, with 260,000 being used worldwide.
In 2008 DePuy became aware that some metal-on-metal parts for Pinnacle Ultamet ‘were slightly outside our manufacturing specifications’.
Following an internal review, they said they would not cause ‘safety issues’
In March 2013, DePuy announces ‘discontinuation’ of Pinnacle Ultamet device ‘because of low clinician use’.
They said: ‘This is a complex and lengthy judgment, the implications of which are being carefully considered, however, the impact it will have on consumer safety and the ability of consumers to get redress, cannot be underestimated.
‘We are in touch with our clients to discuss what next steps could be taken.’
Samantha Silver, of law firm Kennedys who acted for DePuy, said later: ‘The principles established in this judgment apply to all products used by consumers that come within the Consumer Protection Act.
‘The decision will have significance for all manufacturers and distributors, not just those in the life sciences industry, as well as their insurers.
‘It provides manufacturers with confidence that the courts can take into account the benefits and the inherent risks of certain products, for example, in cases where there is a known side effect or complication and the overall benefits outweigh the risks.
‘The decision that the safety of new products should be compared to products existing at the time they are introduced to the market also safeguards the position of those developing new, potentially life-enhancing, technologies in the future.
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