(AP) — A medical firm and former executives convicted of running unauthorized clinical tests of bone cement are blamed in a lawsuit for contributing to the deaths of two elderly California women. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Contra Costa County Superior Court. It alleges 83-year-olds Ryoichi Kikuchi and Barbara Marcelino died after receiving bone cement injections during surgeries at a Walnut Creek hospital in 2003 and 2004.
The product was manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Synthes, which has since been sold to Johnson & Johnson. Synthes' product was approved for use in arms but not in the spine.
Synthes and former subsidiary Norian Corp. previously pleaded guilty to corporate healthcare fraud and agreed to pay $23 million in fines. Four former executives also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of illegally promoting the product's "off-label" use.