The Stryker Corporation is a true American success story. Started over 70 years ago by Dr. Homer Stryker, the company has grown from one man’s ideas for improved medical devices into a multi-billion dollar company that sells products to over 100 countries all over the world. This company went from a physician’s hobby to becoming one of the leading manufacturers of orthopaedic and other medical devices.
Stryker Orthopedic Timeline
Stryker was started in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where the headquarters are still today. Dr. Stryker finished his medical degree in 1925, but later went back to school to get his degree in orthopedic surgery. It was during this time that he created his first orthopedic invention, a turning frame and walking heel. When he established his own practice in 1940, he began working on manufacturing the device in the basement of his practice. In 1941, Dr. Stryker begins to earnestly sell his invention, the beginning of an empire.
- 1946. Dr. Stryker’s inventions become their own company: Orthopedic Frame Company
- 1958. Sales hit $1 million for the new company
- 1964. The company changes its name to Stryker Corporation
- 1979. Stryker acquires Osteonics Corporation to begin making orthopedic implants
- 1990. Annual sales hit $280 million
- 1998. Stryker acquires Howmedica for $1.65 billion, which becomes Stryker Orthopaedics
- 2002. Stryker becomes a Fortune 500 company, with $3 billion in annual sales
- 2010. Sales hit $7.3 billion
- 2012. Stryker recalls the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems
- December 31st, 2013. Stryker hits $9 billion in annual sales
Stryker Orthopedic Implant Products
Stryker has a very diverse medical product line; however, the company started in orthopedics and has remained a leader in that industry. A large part of its success in orthopedics in the last few decades has been with joint implants. Hip, knee and elbow joint replacement implants are the core devices that the orthopedic division designs and manufactures. Two the devices, the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems, were recalled in 2012.
Stryker Hip Implant Recall
The hip stems that were recalled in 2012 were made of metal components that had been found, like other metal hip implants, to fret and corrode after implanted in patients. This problem not only caused the devices to prematurely fail within the first few years after being implanted, but it also caused immense pain and other medical problems in patients. One of the most dangerous aspects is the exposure to chromium and cobalt metals from the hip implants that can enter the bloodstream and be toxic to the patients.
By the end of 2013, Stryker had hundreds of lawsuits pending against them for their faulty metal hip implants. The company settled the first four lawsuits in December 2013, but has hundreds of other patients that are needing compensation for their injuries. Other companies with similar devices and lawsuits such as Depuy have reportedly already agreed to pay close to $4 billion in settlements to their patients.
Despite the hip recall and other setbacks, Stryker continues to be a leader in the medical device industry. Annual sales hit a new high at the end of 2013, despite the legal problems the company is still facing. The legal cost and bad press that has come with the recalls will hopefully have a positive impact on future medical devices, spending the needed time, money and research to ensure that all their products are safe for patients that receive them.