Stryker Corp. has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle lawsuits regarding its hip replacement devices. The Michigan-based company recalled the devices in 2012 after patients experienced pain, swelling and complications from medical debris from the implants. Some who received the implants had high levels of metal debris in their blood.
Stryker manufactures medical devices and medical equipment. According to its website, Stryker is a leader in orthopedic medical technology. The 2012 recall covered its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacement devices. The company warned doctors that the implants could harm tissue around the hip and could create other medical problems.
Unusual Decision to Settle
Stryker reported over $9 billion in revenue for 2013 revenue. The company had promoted the hip implants by saying that they would last for years. Unfortunately, many of the devices failed within the first two years of being implanted.
Yet, unlike other hip replacement makers, Stryker decided to settle the lawsuits before facing a trial. The injured patients’ lawsuits had claimed that the Stryker implants had design flaws and that Stryker failed to warn patients about the risks.
The company announced it will set aside nearly $1.5 billion to cover costs of settling these cases. One legal expert told Bloomberg News that this decision to settle before trial was out of the norm. Carl Tobias, a product liability law professor at the University of Richmond, in Virginia said, “Sounds like they might have been afraid of facing even bigger liability if they didn’t settle them now.”
Under the settlement agreement, Stryker will pay $300,000 per claim to people who had the implants surgically removed. People who suffered extraordinary injuries, such as multiple surgeries, may be eligible an additional amount.
Patients can qualify for a settlement payment if they had their hip implant removed prior to Nov. 3. Most of the payouts are expected to be made by the end of 2015.
Readers may recall that Johnson & Johnson agreed a $2.5 billion settlement last year to reimburse patients who used its ASR metal-on-metal hip device. An additional $250 million may soon be awarded to 1,000 more patients.