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Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
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Another Healthcare Industry Consolidation as Zimmer Announces Plans to Buy Biomet

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On April 24, 2014 Zimmer Holdings Inc. said it would buy Biomet for $13.35 billion.  The move will place Zimmer as the second-largest seller of orthopedic products next to Johnson & Johnson.

The deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2015.  Zimmer said the consolidation would increase its selection of products to treat knees, hips and bones, and double the size of its dental and spine business.

Zimmer & Biomet Faced with Recalls, Lawsuits

Zimmer faces nearly one thousand NexGen CR-Flex knee system lawsuits around the country.  The knee system was linked to serious side effects including pain, implant failure, and difficulty walking.  In 2011, all federal cases were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  The first group of cases to go to trial, also called “bellwether” cases will go to trial in 2015.

Biomet Inc.’s M2A-Magnum metal-on-metal hip device has also been under scrutiny after being linked to complications including severe pain.  The FDA announced the company would be issuing a ceramic hip replacement recall in 2001.

The U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order and created the Biomet Hip MDL in 2012.  The first bellwether cases are to be selected by June 2014.

FDA Issues Safety Communication about Metal-on Metal Hip Devices

The FDA released a safety communication in January 2013 about metal being released from parts of the implant during running or walking.  This in turn could cause damage to soft tissue or bone surrounding the joint and implant.  These issues could ultimately lead to corrective surgery or problems in the body from metal ions.
The FDA recommended that patients see their healthcare professional for clinical evaluations, soft tissue imaging and metal ion testing if they have received a metal-on-metal implant.  Metal ion reactions can include:

• Cardiomyopathy
• Renal function impairment
• Thyroid dysfunction
• Change of psychological state
• Skin rash
• Auditory or visual changes

If you or a loved one have been implanted with a metal-on-metal device or suffered injuries due to a Zimmer or Biomet implant you could be eligible for compensation.  You should contact a personal injury attorney today for a free consultation.