Stryker Orthopeadics, a subsidiary of Stryker Corp., controls a quarter of the U.S. market for hip and knee implants. The company employs 20,000 people and reported revenues of $9.6 billion in 2014.
Stryker Corp. was founded by Dr. Homer Stryker, who began practicing medicine in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1940. He also began inventing and manufacturing medical devices in his basement. Dr. Stryker’s earliest products included the Turning Frame, a mobile hospital bed that allowed for repositioning of injured patients while providing necessary body immobility; the cast cutter, a cast cutting apparatus that removed cast material without damaging underlying tissues; and the walking heel. In 1946, Dr. Stryker incorporated his medical device business as the Orthopedic Frame Company.
In 1958, the Orthopedic Frame Company posted record earnings of $1 million. That same year, the company would launch the revolutionary Circ-O-Lectric hospital bed, which capitalized on the legacy of Dr. Stryker’s Turning Frame.
In 1964, the company changed its name to the Stryker Corporation. Dr. Stryker retired, leaving his son, Lee Stryker, as general manager of the company. Lee would be appointed Stryker’s president in 1969. Ten years later, Stryker purchased the Osteonics Corporation of New Jersey, and entered the market for orthopedic implants. The next year, Stryker Corp. divided into three segments: surgical, medical and osteonics.
In 1991, Stryker received approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to market the first implants that didn’t require bone cement. In 1998, Stryker Orthopaedics was born when the company purchased Pfizer’s Howmedica orthopedics division for $1.64 billion. By 2010, Stryker Orthopaedics held nearly 25% of the U.S. market for artificial hip and knees and 16% of the worldwide orthopedic market.
In July 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems, after data suggested that the metal hip components were associated with a high rate of fretting and corrosion at the modular-neck junction. Within two years of the recall, more than 3,700 Stryker hip lawsuits had been filed in U.S. courts on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered complications as a result of the recalled implants.
On November 3, 2014, Stryker announced a global settlement program to resolve the majority of product liability claims resulting from the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip stem recall. Per the terms of the agreement, eligible plaintiffs would be entitled to gross base awards of $300,000 for each failed implant. However, the base award would be subject to deductions and enhancements depending on the particulars of each case, including additional compensation for claimants who suffered complications during revision surgery and for other damages, including future surgeries caused by complications. The settlement would also provide compensation for individuals who need a revision but who are medically unable to undergo the surgery.
Per the agreement, plaintiffs who wished to accept the terms of the settlement program were required to enroll by March 2, 2015. It was expected that claimants could begin receiving their awards by summer of 2015.
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