Senator asks Zimmer for info about product complaints

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Warsaw-based Zimmer Holdings Inc., the world’s biggest maker of artificial hips and knee joints, was asked by a U.S. senator to disclose information about how it handles complaints about its products.

In a letter, Senator Charles Grassley asked Chief Executive Officer David C. Dvorak to list reports of “safety concerns or problems” reported by Zimmer’s consultants or contractors since January 2008, along with how the company responded. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, also called for Zimmer to provide information on how it tracks the long-term performance of its orthopedic devices.

The request comes at a time when lawmakers are trying to stem rising health-care costs, which have increased at 2.5 times the rate of inflation annually. List prices for artificial hips and knees have risen 5.6 percent so far this year, on top of a 130 percent increase in the average selling price of a hip between 1996 and 2008, according to Orthopedic Network News, a trade journal that tracks costs.

Grassley’s inquiry stemmed from an article in the New York Times about a dispute between Zimmer and two of its consultants about whether and why artificial hips and knees were failing in patients after being implanted. In both cases, Zimmer blamed the surgical techniques, while the consultants blamed the devices, the Times said.

“Zimmer welcomes the opportunity to speak with Senator Grassley,” Charlie Young, a Zimmer spokesman, said in an e- mailed statement.

Feedback from physicians “can lead to modifications and improvements to products, their labeling and the manner in which we train and educate surgeons about our products,” Young said.

Zimmer shares rose 83 cents to $52.99 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has slipped 10 percent this year.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ