Stryker Orthopaedics is known for the development and manufacture of specialty surgical products and other medical supplies for health care around the world. Stryker Orthopaedics manufactures electrically powered surgical instruments, orthopedic implant devices, systems for use with bone repair, endoscopics, and patient care supplies. One of the first products that Stryker Orthopaedics manufactured was an innovative hospital bed.
Stryker Orthopaedics’ parent company, the Stryker Corporation, also helps provide rehabilitative physical therapy for outpatients through their Physiotherapy Associates subsidiary. Stryker Orthopaedics also developed a bone repair protein through the Stryker Biotech subsidiary. The Stryker Corporation is split into ten separate operational divisions. These divisions are Stryker Instruments, Howmedica Osteonics, Stryker Endoscopy, Stryker Medical, Stryker Pacific, Physiotherapy Associates, Matsumoto Medical Instruments, Stryker Biotech, Stryker Americas, and Stryker Europe.
Stryker Corporation is a multibillion dollar company with a current revenue of nearly $10 billion per year; in 2012, the company made $8.7 billion. Stryker is the second-largest manufacturer of orthopaedics in the U.S. Stryker Orthopaedics is currently listed among the 15 most profitable companies in their field. Stryker Orthopaedics is most well-known for their shoulder, knee, and hip replacement devices.
The History of Stryker Orthopaedics
Stryker was founded by Dr. Homer Stryker in 1941. Before founding Stryker, Homer Stryker was an orthopedic surgeon working in Michigan. He spent eight years in general practice until he entered the field of orthopedics. Dr. Stryker was 45 when he entered orthopedics as his field of specialty.
Dr. Stryker noticed that several medical products that he used at the time were not as effective as he would have liked them to be. There are many doctors who would say the same about their field, but Dr. Stryker actually began inventing new products to replace his inefficient instruments.
The Stryker Orthopaedics subsidiary was created in 1998 through the purchase of Howmedica from Pfizer. The acquisition of Howmedica made Stryker Orthopaedics into one of the chief competitors of the joint implant market. Stryker Orthopaedics’ osteonics plant was listed as one of the ten best U.S. manufacturers of that year. Stryker Orthopaedics was one of the steps in Stryker’s corporate growth. They purchased numerous other companies in the field of orthopedics. Today, Stryker Orthopaedics controls about one-quarter of the knee and hip replacement market and more than 16 percent of worldwide orthopedics.
Stryker Orthopaedics Implants Recalls and Lawsuits
Stryker Orthopaedic’s hip implants were based on a novel design using modular necks with stems. This allowed surgeons to custom select the components of the device for each patient. Two Stryker Orthopaedic’s hip replacement devices, called the Rejuvenate and the ABG II offered better flexibility and stability. However, they proved to be problematic to patients since the metal material they were made from would abrade and corrode into the patient.
The metal ions that were released from the implants would irritate nearby tissues and sometimes get into patients’ bloodstreams. This caused a tremendous health effect to the patients and a recall had to be issued by Stryker Orthopaedics for the devices. In July 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics pulled the products from the market because of “fretting and corrosion.”
Stryker Orthopaedics had another problem with knee implants that were allegedly not up to manufacturing standards. Stryker Orthopaedics’ Total Knee, Scorpio CR, and Scorpio PS components were all either partially or totally recalled. Later, Stryker Orthopaedics was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the OtisKnee. They were forced to negotiate with the DOJ for a $33 million settlement. In addition to knee implant recalls, Stryker Orthopaedics had to submit to an 18 month supervision of the company because of allegations that surgeons were being paid to use their devices.