The Oregon Department of Justice reached a first of its kind $4 million settlement on July 2 with DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Oregon’s single-state settlement is the first government action to resolve allegations that DePuy failed to disclose to physicians and patients that its ASR XL “metal on metal” artificial hip devices had an alarming rate of failure.
In total, 432 of the devices were sold in Oregon between the years 2005-2010. DePuy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
“Oregonians in need of a hip replacement deserve to know that the artificial hip they are contemplating in fact has the qualities, and benefits, that a company advertises,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “Doctors also need to know that the products they suggest to their patients meet certain standards; and no company should be permitted to exploit that basic tenet. I am proud that Oregon has once again taken the lead on deceptive marketing practices that hurt patients.”
Repeatedly violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act
The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court today resolves allegations that DePuy repeatedly violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA) when it made claims about the ASR XL artificial hip device that were false, unsubstantiated, or contradicted by other data.
Specifically, the claims were that DePuy represented to Oregon physicians and patients that the ASR XL hip functioned properly, when evidence showed the hip was failing at unusually high rates. Even as other evidence and indications pointed to a critical design flaw in the hip implants, DePuy publically maintained that their product was fine. DePuy eventually conducted a nationwide recall of the hip device in 2010.
In addition to the $4 million payment to the state, DePuy is prohibited from making any false, misleading, or deceptive representation when marketing or promoting its hip replacement products; or from representing that any hip replacement product has approval, uses, benefits or qualities that it does not have.
Attorney General Rosenblum commended the dedicated work of Assistant Attorney General David Hart and his DOJ team who handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.