DePuy and Johnson & Johnson caused one of Britain’s top orthopedic surgeons to question his own skills as a doctor. That was Mr. Tony Nargol’s dramatic testimony in a Chicago courtroom earlier this week (British surgeons are referred to as “Mr.” rather than “Dr.”). Nargol says he told DePuy Orthopaedics about problems with the ASR in his patients long before the company recalled the hip implant.
Nargol says DePuy showed him data to persuade him the hip was working well, even though the company’s own internal research showed there was a huge problem. DePuy also told Nargol that the patients of other surgeons were not reporting the same difficulties. This information made Mr. Nargol believe he was doing something wrong as a surgeon, when in reality there was something very wrong with the ASR hip. Nargol testified that only after the ASR was recalled did he learn that other leading orthopedic surgeons had stopped using it years earlier because of premature failures.
Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys highlighted that orthopedic surgeon, Tony Nargol, initially gave excellent reviews of the ASR. In response, Mr. Nargol testified that had he known that a 2007 internal company study showed a 10% failure rate at 2 and a half years, he would have stopped using the ASR. He also stated that the literature he published in support of the ASR was completely wrong because Johnson & Johnson withheld important information about the hip device. Nargol says that he unfortunately never learned of the wide spread performance problems of the ASR until after the recall.
Mr. Nargol told the jury that as of today his patients’ failure rate for the ASR is over 50%, while the failure rate for his patients with a similar metal on metal hip replacement, the BHR, is only 3.5%. Ironically, Nargol also stated that once he began reporting failures of the ASR to J&J and DePuy, the company stopped funding his research.
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