Johnson & Johnson
Although the company saw a boost attributed to its earlier acquisition of Synthes, Johnson & Johnson had a tough year in 2013, marred by a seemingly endless stream of litigation and quality complaints. In particular, the medtech titan continued to deal with fallout from the 2010 recall of its DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant system. However, the company finally obtained some closure on the matter in November when it announced a U.S. settlement to the tune of $2.5 billion to compensate approximately 8000 patients with the ASR hip implant that required revision surgery. The company received additional hip-related flack in the early part of 2013, though, when it recalled 7500 Adept all-metal hip replacement systems from the market because of a higher-than-expected rate of revision surgeries; the product was not previously available in the United States. With its reputation tarnished and a steep decline in sales of metal-on-metal hip implants following the negative studies, J&J announced in May that it would cut its losses and cease sales of metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-metal bearing material combinations.
Beyond hips, J&J also found itself in court over its Ethicon Prolift transvaginal mesh. A jury awarded $3.35 million in damages to a patient, finding that Ethicon misrepresented the product; the case is one of more than 1800 vaginal mesh suits brought against Ethicon. But that's not all. J&J also made headlines this year in the medtech space when LifeScan issued a voluntary recall of all OneTouch Verio IQ blood glucose meters. The company recalled the devices because they posed a threat of incorrect or delayed treatment at extremely high blood glucose levels.