Sulzer product recall pushes sales down in US
The medical division of the Sulzer technology corporation, Sulzer Medica, says the first quarter was challenged by the recall of hip shells, in particular in the United States market, where sales with joint implants declined by nine per cent in US dollars.
The company announced on Tuesday that net income rose by 10 per cent in the first quarter to SFr360 million ($207.02 million).
It declined to give a profit forecast for 2001 as a whole, saying that the recall and the company's separation from the Sulzer Corporation could "generate additional exceptional costs in future accounting periods".
A statement said that the company rejected as "unjustified" allegations seeking the payment by Sulzer Orthopedics of punitive damages as a result of the product recall.
The company recalled the Inter-Op hip shells last December when it discovered that the product was the cause for early loosening in some cases.
By the end of April, 522 lawsuits had been filed in the US relating to problems with the implant, more than 90 per cent of them individual lawsuits.
A total of 886 patients have undergone revision operations, the company said.
Sulzer Medica said it believed that its product liability insurance was adequate to cover the number of revision surgeries and related claims for expenses and damages known at the end of April.
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