Consumers Union Urges FDA To Require Safety Testing of Metal on Metal Hips and Other High Risk Implants

Consumers Union Urges FDA To Require Safety Testing of Metal on Metal Hips and
                           Other High Risk Implants

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers Union urged
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today to adopt a proposed rule requiring
metal hip implants to be reviewed through the agency's premarket approval
(PMA) process to prove that the devices are safe and effective.

In a comment letter to the FDA signed by more than 11,000 consumers, Consumers
Union called on the agency to re-classify all high risk implantable medical
devices under the PMA process so clinical evidence will be required to show
their effectiveness and safety before the devices can be sold.

"Thousands of patients have been seriously injured by faulty metal on metal
hip implants and other medical devices that were never properly tested before
being cleared for sale," said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union's
Safe Patient Project ( "It's time to stop
experimenting on patients and require more rigorous safety testing of all high
risk implants to prevent flawed medical devices from reaching the market."

A copy of Consumers Union's letter to the FDA follows:

April 18, 2013
Food and Drug Administration
Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0661

To Whom It May Concern:

Consumers Union and the more than 11,000 people signing this letter due to
their concern about high-risk implants are in full support of the FDA proposal
(Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0661) to require all metal on metal (MoM) hips to be
reviewed through the agency's premarket approval (PMA) process. It is too late
for thousands of people who have been harmed by these implants that were
cleared for market through a loophole in the law that allowed them to be sold
without thorough review by the FDA to assure safety, even though they were
classified as "high risk."

We also strongly support the proposal's requirement for makers of hip implants
in this category that are already on the market to provide critical safety
information to the agency within 90 days. However, it is troublesome that MoM
hips can continue to be commercially distributed up to 90 days after the FDA

This order will finally require manufacturers to demonstrate clinical testing
for safety and effectiveness before approval of new metal on metal hips. But
at this time we are skeptical that any metal on metal hip implant could be
safe for patients. Because of that, we urge the FDA to push all manufacturers
of metal-on-metal hips to remove their products from the market, because of
the high failure rates and high numbers of adverse events, especially
experienced by women.

While the FDA has issued an alert about possible adverse events to the public,
this does not guarantee that all affected patients have been given advice on
monitoring their metal hips for problems. As was done in the UK, all patients
with these implants should be notified about their risks and advised to get
yearly tests for cobalt poisoning. Unless the FDA confirms that each
manufacturer has done due diligence to notify every patient with these MoM
hips, the problem has not been properly addressed.

The New York Times recently reported that a MoM hip sold by Johnson and
Johnson had a 40% failure rate but the company continued to sell the remainder
of their inventory, despite the knowledge of the failure rate. This kind of
irresponsible behavior must stop. Requiring a more thorough review up front,
as the current order proposes, will help to keep flawed devices from the

In addition, we strongly encourage the FDA to review and re-classify to PMA
status all Class III implantable medical devices. Other high risk implanted
medical devices like surgical mesh should also be put into the PMA approval
track, requiring more clinical information. Patients suffering from harm due
to surgical mesh implants have reported debilitating side effects from
punctured organs to autoimmune disorders. Many have undergone multiple
surgeries to remove the mesh, which has broken apart and traveled to other
parts of the body.

Please move quickly to bring metal on metal hips and all other high risk
implants under the PMA process so clinical evidence will be required to show
their effectiveness and safety.


Lisa McGiffert
Consumers Union Safe Patient Project
506 West 14th Street Suite A
Austin TX 78701

SOURCE Consumers Union
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