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The Biomet M2a-Magnum is a metal-on-metal hip implant that is marketed as more durable and easily customized to better fit different patients. For all the advantages that the implant is supposed to possess–which also include better range of motion and reduced risk of dislocation–it also carries the same risk of side effects as other metal-on-metal implants.
While Biomet has not recalled the implant, it does recommend that patients who receive an M2a-Magnum regularly monitor the status of their device with their doctor. The FDA has issued numerous notices expressing concern over MoM implants and calling for further postmarket studies and a more comprehensive national registry system.
Of the more than 12,000 adverse incident reports filed with the FDA in 2011 that pertained to hip implants, nearly three quarters involved metal-on-metal devices. (The majority of those complaints were about implants manufactured by DePuy.) In 2013, the UK banned MoM hip implants outright after its own national patient data demonstrated unacceptably high failure rates.
Biomet Lawsuit Allegations
Biomet lawsuits allege that the M2a-Magnum is a defective product. Like other MoM implants, its design releases metal ions into the body that can cause severe side effects, such as metallosis and device failure. The large surface area of its head may exacerbate these side effects and may cause a localized reaction even without releasing debris. However, there is evidence that the Biomet implant is less prone to complications than some other MoM implants.
Lawsuits were combined into multidistrict litigation in Indiana, Biomet’s home state.
Compensation in Biomet Lawsuits
Plaintiffs in Biomet lawsuits may be eligible to receive compensation for a variety of reasons.
- Medical expenses: A defective Biomet hip implant can lead to substantial expenses, from doctors’ visits and diagnostic procedures such as MRIs to the cost of revision surgery and physical therapy.
- Lost earnings: Patients with a defective hip implant may miss work due to a recovery period or be unable to perform their jobs, leading to significant lost past and future wages.
- Pain and suffering: The side effects of a defective hip implant can be painful and debilitating, significantly impacting a patient’s quality of life and making everyday activities difficult or unpleasant.
- Loss of consortium: The lifestyle changes, stress (financial and otherwise), and other existential effects of a defective hip implant can degrade family and spousal relationships, which these damages are designed to account for.
- Punitive damages: These damages are meant as a deterrent to future wrongdoing. They are awarded in cases where a defendant’s behavior was determined by the courts to be particularly egregious.
Under the terms of the settlement, eligible plaintiffs will receive base compensation of $200,000, variable depending on a number of conditions.
Biomet Hip Replacement Settlements
In late 2013, Biomet reached a $56 million settlement in the Indiana suits related to its M2a-Magnum implant, with $50 million placed in escrow for damages to plaintiffs and $6 million set aside for attorney’s fees. Under the terms of the settlement, eligible plaintiffs will receive base compensation of $200,000, variable depending on a number of conditions.
Biomet does not admit that its implant is at fault. The settlement, relatively small compared to settlements reached by other major hip manufacturers, eliminates the uncertainty of future litigation, potentially saving Biomet a substantial amount of money in the long run.
If you have a Biomet metal-on-metal hip implant, you should consult with a qualified attorney to assess your legal options.
- Heneghan C., Langton D., Thompson M. Ongoing problems with metal-on-metal hip implants. BMJ 2012;344:e1349, available at http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e1349.
- MDL no. 2391. In re: Biomet M2a Magnum hip implant products liability litigation. Settlement agreement between Biomet, Inc. and Plaintiffs Executive Committee. (2014, January 31).
- Edney, A. (2012, June 21). Hip Implant Concerns Reached 16,800 in a Decade, FDA Says. Bloomberg. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- M2a-Magnum metal-on-metal hip. Retrieved from the Biomet website April 7, 2014.
- Prasad, S. (2014, February 3). Biomet reaches $56 million settlement over faulty hip replacements. Reuters. Retrieved April 6, 2014.