Internal company reports revealed in a personal injury lawsuit show that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) knew about high failure rates in its hip replacement implants two years before it issued a recall.
The company has already recorded charges of $900 million relating to the hip implants, which were manufactured by its DePuy Orthopaedics division. Hit with 10,000 lawsuits, it could be liable for $1 billion in damages, the Wall Street Journal notes.
According to documents unsealed in a California lawsuit, J&J knew as early as 2008 that patients who received the implants had very high levels of metal ions, suggesting a design flaw in the implants that allowed their coatings to wear off. The company ended production of the implants in 2009 and recalled them a year later.
A year after that, an internal review found that 36% five-year failure rate among patients who received the implants. That compares of the 5% five-year failure rate that its the standard among similar implants.
In the U.S., 37,000 patients received the implants, which were implanted in another 93,000 people around the world.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson were mostly flat in Wednesday morning trading.