Today was an interesting day in court. The plaintiff called Andrew Ekdahl, ex-CEO of DePuy and defendant in the case, to the stand. He is the very first witness the plaintiff called. Mr. Ekdahl has absolutely no medical or engineering background. He advanced through the company as part of the sales division. He was always a salesman. The plaintiff’s attorney was adamant in establishing DePuy really had a culture of doing whatever it takes to sell. The people running the show were salesman, and were in the marketing arm of the company.
During the plaintiff’s attorney opening statement, he indicated people in sales and marketing were involved in decisions on the design of the hip and in testing the hip. This is essentially unheard of in the medical device industry.
Generally, there is a separation between the people responsible for safety and the people responsible for selling the device. During Mr. Ekdahl’s testimony, it was clear those lines were blurred at DePuy.
Testimony established Mr. Ekdahl is a marketing man with limited experience in medicine or engineering. He demonstrated after all the problems with this hip, and other DePuy hips, nothing befell Mr. Ekdahl. In fact, he was promoted multiple times. The plaintiff’s attorney got the defendant to admit that instructions for the device contained little information about the angle at which the hip should be implanted. Mark Lanier, the plaintiff’s attorney, argued DePuy provided essentially no training for surgeons regarding implanting the cup at the appropriate angle.