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Lawyer grills DePuy exec Ekdahl in Pinnacle hip trial

A lawyer for the plaintiff in the 1st product liability trial over DePuy’s Pinnacle hip replacement grills DePuy Synthes chairman Andrew Ekdahl, the former president of the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that made the metal-on-metal implants.

The plaintiff’s lawyer in the 1st DePuy Pinnacle hip implant lawsuit to go to trial yesterday grill former DePuy president Andrew Ekdahl on the witness stand, accusing him of helping to conceal the risk that the metal-on-metal hips could cause serious injury.

Ekdahl, now chairman of Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) DePuy Synthes franchise, denied the allegations leveled by Mark Lanier, the lawyer for plaintiff Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Citing internal J&J emails, Lanier said Johnson & Johnson knew as early as 2001 of the potential for metallosis, or high levels of metals in the bloodstream, the news outlet reported. Metal-on-metal hip pioneer Dr. Thomas Schmalzried, a DePuy consultant, was worried that debris generated by the chromium cobalt implants was a “major issue for metal-on-metal hips” that would require testing and monitoring of patients, Lanier said in a Dallas court yesterday.

The emails, from 2008, showed that DePuy executives knew of Schmalzried’s review of a case showing extensive tissue damage to an “alarming and concerning” extent. The DePuy officials wrote that they planned to tell colleagues to “keep quiet for now” about the case. Schmalzried, of the St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, helped DePuy develop the ASR artificial hip, earning more than $30 million for his services to DePuy, according to the report.

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Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Sales Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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