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Wright Medical Settles Hip Implant Suits for $240 Million

The master settlement agreement covers about 85% of the known claims Wright had been facing in the U.S. over metal-on-metal hip implants.

Chris Newmarker

Wright Medical Group will spend $240 million to settle 1292 lawsuit claims related to its Conserve, Dynasty, and Lineage metal-on-metal hips.

The settlement will be funded through $180 million in cash and $60 million in insurance recoveries, the Memphis, TN-based company said November 2.

The settlement agreement will be terminated if more than 5% of the claimants covered decide to opt out. The company also plans to vigorously defend itself against the roughly 600 claims not covered by the settlement.

Wright Medical CEO Robert Palmisano praised the agreement for providing clarity about Wright's legal situation related to metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits.

"With this clarity, we will continue to focus on accelerating growth opportunities in the extremities and biologics markets," Palimisano said in a news release.

All-metal implants were  touted as stronger than other types of implants when they were first introduced durng the late 1990s. thought to be stronger than other types of implants, But it turned out that the implants had serious issues. Undergoing wear and tear, the implants in some cases have released chromium and cobalt ions. These ions can seep into local tissue near the site of an implant, potentially destroying bone and muscle. If these ions manage to enter a patient's circulatory system, they can injure the kidneys, liver, spleen and lymph nodes before elimination from the body through urine.

Manufacturers have had to settle a host of lawsuits over the implants, with settlement amounts reaching into the billions of dollars.

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Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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