Stryker Corp. announced on Thursday that its quarterly net profit fell 70 percent, despite an increase in sales. Increased sales of its hip, knee, and spine products were offset by charges for its recalled products, Reuters reports.
The company reported a quarterly net profit of $103 million. Despite multiple product recalls last year, Stryker’s net sales for the quarter rose from $2.05 billion last year to $2.15 billion.
Last year, Stryker issued a voluntary recall of its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant systems. The company recalled their modular-neck hip stems due to “the potential for fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction,” which can lead to adverse local tissue reactions, among other negative side-effects.
With the modular or two-piece metal neck system, patients experienced problems with corrosion due to fretting between the two metal pieces. Fretting is an industry term that describes the movement between two mechanically joined parts under load.
While the modular system is not considered to be in the same category as other metal-on-metal hip implants, the basic principle of wear between two metal components is the same.
Over the last few years, multiple metal-on-metal hip implant systems from several manufacturers have been recalled due to their tendency to cause injuries including pseudo tumors, tissue necrosis, and adverse effects from elevated levels of metal ions in the bloodstream, also known as cobalt and chromium poisoning.
“The bio-safety engineers for the company said this was a better product. They said, ‘You can use it in younger patients; you can use it in more active patients.’ And what they were doing is increasing, by several times, the ability to reach more and more patients,” said Stryker hip lawyer Ben Gordon, a shareholder with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of personal injury and bad drug and medical device litigation.
“Marketing these devices to a broader community of people was not sound business,” Mr. Gordon continued. “The claims that companies made in their marketing materials that their devices would wear less, create less metal debris, and would be more stable in a younger, healthier, more active population were not true; they simply didn’t have the evidence to back that up.”