Another week, another BIG settlement! Actually, there was one big settlement in the medical device industry regarding bad hip implants and an even bigger award in a jury trial involving the weed killer Roundup. The Johnson & Johnson company is reported to have reached a $1 billion settlement with plaintiffs who had received the company’s metal-on-metal hip implants. In a different case, a jury in California awarded one couple over $2 billion dollars. In their suit they had claimed that their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancers were due to exposure to the herbicide Roundup. 

The Bad Hip Implants:

The name of the implants in question is Pinnacle. They were supplied by DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company. These metal-on-metal (MoM) implants were launched back in 2002. 

At that time, it was believed that the MoM devices would last longer than other implants that relied on plastic or ceramic. Hey, metal is strong, right? Some manufacturers called metal-on-metal hip implants a medical breakthrough. Instead of stainless steel they used “stronger” metals such as titanium, cobalt or chromium. 

It is not clear how well or for how long these products were tested. There was a big ooops coming. As the MoM parts rubbed together, metal fragments began to break loose and affect surrounding tissue. Worse, metal ions got into the bloodstream. Patients began reporting rashes, vision problems, brain fog, depression, kidney damage, thyroid dysfunction and significant pain. Many had to have the implants removed.

The LA Times reports that:

“Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay about $1 billion to resolve most lawsuits claiming it sold defective metal-on-metal hips that ultimately had to be removed, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

“With the agreement, J&J has now resolved more than 95% of the 6,000 cases in which surgeons extracted the Pinnacle implants because of defects that left patients unable to walk and in pain, according to two people familiar with the settlements. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to talk publicly about the accords.”

If you would like to learn more about the scandal surrounding medical devices (including bad hip implants) and the FDA approval process, we encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to our interview with Jeanne Lenzer, author of The Danger Within Us: America’s Untested, Unregulated Medical Device Industry and One Man’s Battle to Survive It. Here is a link to Show 1123: What Are the Unexpected Dangers of Medical Devices?

You can listen to the streaming audio by clicking on the green arrow above Jeanne’s photo or download the mp3 file at the bottom of the page. They are both free.

Roundup (Glyphosate) and a $2 Billion Jury Award:

We won’t say strike three for Bayer, but this is the third jury verdict against the company that acquired Monsanto and its controversial weed killer, Roundup. The chemical is also known by the name glyphosate. 

In this case, a married couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, both contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer. They attributed it to their use of glyphosate to kill weeds on their property. The jury agreed and awarded the pair $1 billion each in punitive damages. What’s more, the jury also said the company owed the couple $55 million in compensatory damages. The agricultural chemical maker is looking at an additional 13,000 US lawsuits at least. 

Scientists have debated whether or not Roundup causes cancer. Juries are apparently coming to their own conclusions.

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