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Sulzer to challenge new US lawsuit over faulty hip replacements

Sulzer is prepared to defend itself against American lawsuits concerning its faulty hip replacements

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss medical technology concern, Sulzer Medica, is facing a second class action lawsuit in the United States over defective hip-replacement parts. The company said on Friday that it would defend itself against the latest action brought by a group of 20 people in Boston.

The new legal move by patients affected by the faulty implants was announced in the US on Thursday.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the plaintiffs, Robert Bonsignore, said his clients had suffered a number of health problems, including leg pains, infections and walking difficulties, since being fitted with the defective joints. He said they would be seeking damages plus interest from the Winterthur-based firm.

Bonsignore didn't say what level of damages his clients were demanding.

The Boston lawsuit follows hard on the heels of a similar class action suit brought in California last month. Lawyers there argued that Sulzer Medica had failed to warn up to 17,500 patients about the dangers of its hip-replacement shells.

Sulzer is also facing a number of private lawsuits.

The company confirmed in January that a manufacturing problem had led to defective hip parts, but pointed out that it had recalled 25,000 implants as early as December last year. It promised to pay the surgical costs for patients who had to have their implants removed.

In a statement on Friday, Sulzer said it would challenge the latest lawsuit. It said it believed the best way to deal with patients' complaints was on an individual basis and not collectively.

Sulzer also said it did not believe it was liable for punitive damages towards patients affected by the faulty parts, arguing that it had behaved in a responsible way and reacted as soon as the problem came to light.

According to Sulzer, 573 patients have come forward to complain of faulty implants since the product recall. It's believed 90 per cent of the parts went to patients in the US. Other countries affected included Canada, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Korea and Brazil.

Sulzer Medica is one of the world's leading manufacturers of medical devices.

swissinfo with agencies


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