We have discussed Stryker and their defective hip implants at length on these pages. However, Stryker is far from the only company facing legal action over these products.
One industry player that is now being taken to task is Biomet. According to the product webpage, Biomet's M2a-MagnumTM Metal-on-Metal Hip is the one of the greatest medical innovations of recent times. They even have the endorsement of former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who says, “Biomet changed my life!” Lab testing (at Biomet's own facilities) “demonstrated a 99% reduction in wear over conventional polyethylene components.
Ah, but be certain to read the fine print at the bottom of the page: “Bench test results are not necessarily indicative of clinical performance.” On Ms. Retton's endorsement page is a similar statement: “Her results are not necessarily typical, indicative, or representative of all joint replacement patients.”
Like Stryker hip implant and several other hip replacement products from other manufacturers, Biomet's M2a-MagnumTM received expedited approval through the now-infamous 501(k) process, by which the Food and Drug Administration gives manufacturers a pass on safety testing if the product in question is “substantially similar” to a product that has already been approved and is currently on the market.
As of this writing (October 2012), pending cases against Biomet have been consolidated and transferred to the Northern District of Indiana – the company's home state – where pre-trial proceedings are currently underway. It's worth noting that unlike the Stryker implant, Biomet's M2a-MagnumTM has not been subject to recall – despite the fact that approximately 450 “adverse events” have been reported. Biomet's attorneys have opposed this consolidation and transfer on these grounds, in addition to claims that the M2a-MagnumTM has been “comparatively less problematic than similar hip implant products of its competitors.” The defendant also argues that “individualized, plaintiff-specific issues will predominate among the actions” - in other words, each plaintiff will possibly have his or her own cause of action in regards to the device.
However, the Honorable Judge Robert Miller Jr., in issuing the transfer order, has determined that, while each case may have “individual issues,” based on similar cases involving other hip implant products, it is likely that a “common defect” is responsible for the plaintiffs' injuries.
N/A. “M2a-MagnumTM Metal-on-Metal Hip.” Available at http://www.biomet.com/patients/m2a_magnum.cfm .
N/A. “Patient Success Stories: Mary Lou Retton.” Available at http://www.biomet.com/patients/marylou_retton.cfm.
IN RE: BIOMET M2A MAGNUM HIP IMPLANT PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION MDL No. 2391. Filed 02 Oct 2012. Avilable at http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2391-Initial_Transfer-09-12.pdf .
Learn more about the Stryker Hip Recall