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Artificial Knees and Hips Are not Like Toyotas – No Warranties Given

Posted Apr 02 2010 10:34pm

Back in September of 2008 we were asking “how long is my knee or hip replacement going to last and now we are getting some not so good results, but there are many good ones too. 

Johnson and Johnson is phasing out one of their hip products and in this article one patient talks about his misfortune and problems with the knee made by the company.  Device companies state it’s not the devices but rather the surgical skills used with implanting them.   We do not track implanted devices here in the US as do some other countries.

Johnson and Johnson earlier this year though bought another company that makes knees and hips so perhaps this is a better alternative with different technology?

This is big cost on the healthcare system and there needs to be a better way to handle recalls and feedback.  One company in the UK, Biomet said they have somewhat of a warranty plan but it does not exist on their US website.  The warranted devices are so durable that it has had just over a dozen claims since 1997.


With all the recalls, you would think we would have a better system.  There is one and it free that medical device companies and drug companies could benefit from as well as having a synchronized data base with the FDA.  Scan with your cell phone to find recalls and updated information. 

Why are we afraid of “free” life saving technology?  This same tag could be placed on drug containers too, scan it and new safety information is available as well as identifying the product is authentic with an FDA supplied key to manufacturers, encrypted.   It’s wild I have written on this topic several times, had a couple somewhat angry frustrated answers from others who didn’t take the time to understand how this free technology saves lives,

Tracking Medical Device Recalls – Sounds Like A Good Place for a Microsoft Tag Data Base at the FDA

When a car breaks, a computer fails or a toaster flames out, the manufacturer is often liable under the product warranty. But that is not how the multibillion-dollar orthopedics industry tends to work, according to doctors, industry experts and three of the biggest device makers.

The million or so artificial hips and knees implanted each year in the United States, they say, are normally not guaranteed. Instead, the costs of replacing


implants that fail early because of design or mechanical problems — devices that sell for as much as $15,000 each — are largely paid by Medicare , insurance companies and patients. 

Orthopedic producers may sometimes even profit from the failures because they sell the replacements at full price. 

The type of artificial hip that Mr. Morris had taken out in January, called an ASR and made by DePuy Orthopaedics, has been particularly problematic. In early March, the company issued an alert that new data suggested the device was failing in some patients within a few years of implant.

“Companies have dumped these costs into the health care system,” said Dr. Lawrence D. Dorr, an orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles who two years ago took the unusual step of drawing attention to one problematic hip device. “They don’t have any skin in the game.”

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