Zimmer Manufacturing Company, founded in 1927, is the predecessor to Zimmer Holdings, Inc., founded in 2001. Zimmer designs components for replacement joints including the knee and hip. Since 1995, Zimmer has sold over 3 million NexGen knee implants, making it the largest knee implant manufacturer in the world. In 2001, Zimmer began distributing High Flex NexGen knee implants. The Zimmer High Flex knee implants are an updated version of the NexGen implants. The new Zimmer knee devices were supposed to provide patients with a wider range of motion.
While the Zimmer NexGen knee implants were popular and effective, Zimmer faces numerous complaints against the newer High Flex version of NexGen knee implants. To date, over 700 Zimmer High Flex NexGen knee lawsuits have been filed against the large manufacturer. The defective High Flex knee implants caused increased pain, loosening of the device, premature knee implant failure, and expensive revision surgery.
Zimmer was also under fire for the Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component. In 2008, one of Zimmer’s own medical consultants sent a letter to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) indicating issues with the frequency of Zimmer Durom hip failure. Zimmer is currently handling settlements for Durom Cup lawsuits. The company anticipates that the number of Durom Cup lawsuits will continue to increase. To date, the Durom Cup lawsuits have cost Zimmer well over $280 million dollars.
FDA Warnings for Joint Replacement Devices
After numerous studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and British Medical Journal (BMJ) identified problems associated with metal-on-metal devices. According to the BMJ, metal-on-metal devices resulted in higher rates of revision therapy, as opposed to metal-on-polyethylene implants. This contrasts many medical device manufacturers’ claims of increased durability by using metal-on-metal components with materials such as titanium alloy, chromium, and cobalt. In addition to increased rates of revision therapy, the BMJ reported increased chances of hip dislocation and elevated concentrations of metallic ions within the bloodstream.
Patients with the following criteria should not receive a metal-on-metal implant:
- Metal allergy or sensitivity
- Being of or near child-bearing age
- Coping with suppressed immune system
- Experiencing kidney problems, or with a history of kidney problems
- Using large doses of corticosteroids
Zimmer NexGen Litigation
Patients with defective NexGen implants are filing Zimmer High Flex NexGen knee lawsuits. Plaintiffs of the Zimmer NexGen lawsuits request compensation for surgical expenses, permanent disability, lost wages, cost of rehabilitation, cost of in-home patient care, and pain and suffering. Numerous surgeons, including Dr. Richard A. Berger, believe that there is a fundamental design flaw with Zimmer’s NexGen knee implant. Berger and other surgeons claim the High Flex NexGen knee implants may fail to fuse with the patient’s thigh bone. This results in loosening of the joint, which requires revision surgery.
Patients with a defective Zimmer NexGen implant may notice:
- Loose feeling in the replacement knee
- Clicking, popping, or crunching noises in the replacement knee
- Difficulty when standing or walking
- Persistent swelling and pain in the replacement knee
Many Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuits claim that the medical device features design flaws. Some NexGen lawsuits claim Zimmer misled consumers with deceptive marketing tactics. These Zimmer knee lawsuits accuse Zimmer of identifying and concealing serious health risks associated with the High Flex NexGen knee implants. Plaintiffs also assert that Zimmer’s deceptive advertising was overly optimistic. Currently, over 700 lawsuits against Zimmer are consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) being held in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
NexGen Knee Lawsuit Examples
- Ronnie Clark received his first NexGen knee implant in December 2007. Shortly after the initial knee replacement surgery, Clark experienced pain and failure of the Zimmer High Flex NexGen knee device. He endured two revision surgeries as a result of the defective NexGen knee implant. In November 2011, Clark filed a lawsuit against Zimmer. Clark accused Zimmer of misleading consumers with deceptive marketing that implied the Zimmer High Flex NexGen knee implant as safe.
- John Hall received a NexGen knee implant during August 2007. Hall experienced persistent pain, loosening of the replacement knee, and NexGen knee failure. He required revision surgery by December 2008. As a result, Hall filed a Zimmer knee lawsuit with the Eastern District of New York in December 2011. Hall’s NexGen knee lawsuit claims Zimmer would have known of the high risk and dangerous side effects involved with the High Flex NexGen knee device. Hall accuses Zimmer of deliberately concealing health risk information from consumers for the purpose of financial gain.
- Shortly after David Dicken received his NexGen knee implant in January 2005, he experienced severe pain in his replacement knee. Numerous doctor visits resulted in revision surgery in December 2009 to replace the faulty NexGen knee implant. He filed a Zimmer NexGen lawsuit with the Western District of Pennsylvania in December 2011. Dicken accused Zimmer of liability and negligence for the failure of his Zimmer High Flex NexGen knee implant.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.