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Consumers Union to lobby at meeting of orthopedic docs in New Orleans

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: March 11, 2014 - 5:27 PM

Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, is taking its campaign to convince medical device companies to provide warranties for hip and knee implants directly to the doctors who perform these operations. CU has launched an ad campaign and will be conducting outreach activities this week during the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) conference in New Orleans.

Consumers Union has called on medical device manufacturers to provide warranties to cover the cost of replacing hip or knee implants that fail prematurely because of a product defect.

This week’s ad campaign includes an ad in support of the campaign in the New Orleans edition of USA Today, a mobile billboard that will circle the Morial Convention Center and ads at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.  Consumers Union staff and activists will be outside the convention center where the AAOS annual meeting is taking place.

“Getting a hip or knee implant is a major life decision and high stakes purchase for patients,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project (www.safepatientproject.org).  “Medical device makers should be willing to provide a warranty that spells out how long they will stand by their products and a process for getting it replaced at no cost if the implant turns out to be defective.”

Nearly 1.2 million hip and knee surgeries are done in the U.S. each year – making them an increasingly common procedure.  Demand is expected to continue rising.  By 2030, an estimated 4 million of these procedures will take place annually.  More than half of those patients are expected to be under 65 years old.

Most hip and knee implants perform well and can last up to 20 years.  But the AAOS estimates that 10 percent will fail for a range of reasons, from infection and trauma to loosening or poor implant positioning.

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