Suspicion Confirmed – Stryker Anticipated Its More Expensive Rejuvenate Hip System to be Used in Younger Patients
As a Stryker hip implant attorney, I have written previously about our experience with clients who had Stryker hip replacement problems. Most of these clients tell us about conversations with their doctors before surgery in which they were told the Rejuvenate hip was better for them due to their young age. Supposedly, it was a custom fit so it would provide more range of motion and more durability for their younger, active lifestyle.
Today, I came across verification that in fact this is exactly how Stryker marketed the Rejuvenate. Around the time of the product’s launch, Jonathan Sacks, product manager for Hip Marketing at Stryker was quoted as saying that the Rejuvenate Modular Primary Hip System potentially offers patients a better range of motion than other products on the market, and the materials used to create the system allow for enhanced durability. In layman’s terms, Sacks is saying that the device will provide better range of motion than other hip devices and that it will last longer because it’s built better.
Later in the article, Sacks is again quoted as saying, “This new hip system helps surgeons to better address the changing patient demographics (bone morphologies) as increasingly younger patients get total hip replacements.”
Financial analysts looking at the launch of ceramic hip devices in the face of falling revenues for hip implant manufacturers cited this development as positive. One opined that the development of ceramic devices should, “jump start the market.” The analyst went on to explain that all “these products” treat younger patients who have had a tendency to go untreated until they are older. Therefore, he said, “these devices are expanding the market.”
In addition to promising greater range of motion and longevity to younger patients, Stryker was making more money selling the modular, multi-part Rejuvenate device.
In Stryker’s fourth quarter Earnings Call dated January 25, 2011, Katherine Owen, Vice President of Strategy and Investor Relations discussed the market slowdown in elective procedures and pricing pressure being placed on Stryker by competitors. Her answer to this recognized challenge, “We also continue to see an ability to garner both price and mix with innovative new products as evidenced by the price premiums we are realizing for ADM and Rejuvenate Hip Systems that were launched in early 2010 and have contributed to a strengthening of the mix contributions in Q4.”
It now is not a mystery why we continue to hear the same story time and again from patients. It appears that the party line was developed by Stryker and delivered to doctors who repeated it to patients. This new, more expensive device will last longer, provide more range of motion and is therefore appropriate for younger patients. At the same time, it might help prop up the sagging hip implant market. It all seems to fit together a little too nicely. Although there has been no Stryker hip implant recall, we believe there are hip replacement lawsuits on the horizon.