In our effort to get warranties on knee and hip implants, we took the fight to those on the front lines – orthopedic surgeons.
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project staff and consumer activists from across the country headed to New Orleans earlier this month for the annual meeting of the Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Our mission: ask this large gathering of surgeons to support warranties, and get their feedback on the idea. This was one audience who should know the importance of warranty – the surgeon group said 7 million Americans have artificial joints, or one in 50 of us!
We spent two energetic days outside the convention handing out flyers and debating the idea. In addition, we had a large truck with a billboard on both sides circling the convention with our warranty campaign info, and we placed a full-page ad in the New Orleans edition of USA Today. We were not to be missed!
Right now, only one implant on the market comes with a warranty. We’re pushing all joint manufacturers to warranty their products so if a new knee or hip joint fails, companies will provide a replacement device at no cost to the patient. When a joint now fails, the cost of replacement falls on patients, insurance companies and Medicare – which is paid in part by taxpayers.
And joints do fail. According to the FDA, recalls of defective medical devices has doubled over the past decade. We believe consumers should expect their knee and hip replacements to last at least 20 years. Of the people who responded to our survey about their joint replacement, about two-thirds thought a 20-year or lifetime warranty was appropriate.
If you’d like to join our campaign, send a quick message to the nation’s leading joint manufacturers to warranty their products. And stay tuned as we continue the fight to hold them accountable for their products.
Also this week the Wall Street Journal published an article on medical device recalls. According to the FDA, recall of defective medical devices has doubled over the past decade.