Consumer’s Union Urges Implant Guarantees
Biloine W. Young • Thu, September 19th, 2013
In a clear challenge to the orthopedic industry, the official publication of the Consumer’s Union, Consumer Reports, called on implant manufacturers to offer warranties for their implants so that patients and taxpayers would not have to pay for a replacement when an implant fails.
According to the article, 20% of hip replacements and 10% of knee replacements are revisions—in many cases done because the original surgery or device or some combination of the two failed in some way. The author, Joel Keehn, argues that consumers of joint implants should have the same privilege as automobile purchasers have to take their cars back to a dealer to get a defective part fixed by the manufacturer/dealer.
Lisa McGiuffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, notes that joint replacement patients do not get a warranty or guarantee in writing from the manufacturer of their device advising them as to how long their implant should last.
Consumers Union’s Safe Project Patient Project reports that hundreds of knee implant components have been recalled by their manufacturers for problems such as shipping a wrong size or a device with a missing part. The Union is urging the device manufacturers to provide patient purchasers of their devices with a 20 year warranty that would cover the entire cost of revision surgery, should it be needed, and an understandable system for patients to use in making claims—including toll-free telephone numbers. Doctors would charge the manufacturer of the implant, not the patient, for the costs associated with revision surgery.