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Smith & Nephew's Exclusive OXINIUM™ Material for Hip Replacement Implants Chosen for Premium Reimbursement in Japanese Market

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- OXINIUM™ Oxidized Zirconium, the patented advanced bearing material from Smith & Nephew (NYSE: SNN, LSE: SN) Orthopaedics Division, has been awarded a C1 premium reimbursement classification in Japan for use in hip replacement surgery. The decision by the Central Medical Insurance Committee comes three years after it awarded Smith & Nephew with Japan's first-ever premium price reimbursement for an orthopaedic implant—for the use of OXINIUM material in total knee replacement implants. Smith & Nephew is the only orthopaedic medical device company to have been awarded C1 reimbursement for both hip and knee replacement implants.

The C1 classification rewards innovative products with a higher reimbursement price and is reserved for those products where the advantages over other available products are recognized by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

OXINIUM™ Oxidized Zirconium is a metal alloy whose surface takes on the hard, wear-reducing properties of ceramic during a proprietary heating process. Since it has the abrasion resistance of a ceramic, it reduces implant wear by 98-percent(1) when coupled with a cross-linked polyethylene cup, compared to traditionally used implant materials (cobalt chrome and standard polyethylene). At the same time, it retains the strength of the underlying zirconium metal alloy, thus eliminating the risk of fracture associated with ceramic implants.

"It is truly an honor for OXINIUM material to have been awarded with premium reimbursement in Japan twice in three years—first for knee replacements, and now for hip replacements," says Joseph M. DeVivo, president of Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics. "It's a testament to our drive to innovate—our material technology is unrivalled globally, and now patients in Japan will have access to the centerpiece of our advanced bearings portfolio."

(1) Parikh, A., Hill P., Hines G., and Pawar V., "Wear of Conventional and Highly Crosslinked Polyethylene Liners during Simulated Fast Walking/Jogging", Trans. Orthop. Res. Soc., vol. 34, 2009, p. 2340.

About Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business with global leadership positions in Orthopaedics; including Reconstruction, Trauma and Clinical Therapies; Endoscopy; including Sports Medicine; and Advanced Wound Management. Smith & Nephew is a global leader in arthroscopy and advanced wound management and is one of the leading global orthopaedics companies.

Smith & Nephew is dedicated to helping improve people's lives. The Company prides itself on the strength of its relationships with its surgeons and professional healthcare customers, with whom its name is synonymous with high standards of performance, innovation and trust. The Company has distribution channels, purchasing agents and buying entities in over 90 countries worldwide. Annual sales in 2010 were $4 billion.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains certain forward-looking statements that may or may not prove accurate.  For example, statements regarding expected revenue growth and trading margins, market trends and our product pipeline are forward-looking statements.  Phrases such as "aim", "plan", "intend", "anticipate", "well-placed", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "target", "consider" and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from what is expressed or implied by the statements. For Smith & Nephew, these factors include: economic and financial conditions in the markets we serve, especially those affecting health care providers, payors and customers; price levels for established and innovative medical devices; developments in medical technology; regulatory approvals, reimbursement decisions or other government actions; product defects or recalls; litigation relating to patent or other claims; legal compliance risks and related investigative, remedial or enforcement actions; strategic actions, including acquisitions and dispositions and our success in integrating acquired businesses; and numerous other matters that affect us or our markets, including those of a political, economic, business or competitive nature.  Please refer to the documents that Smith & Nephew has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including Smith & Nephew's most recent annual report on Form 20F, for a discussion of certain of these factors.

Any forward-looking statement is based on information available to Smith & Nephew as of the date of the statement.  All written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to Smith & Nephew are qualified by this caution.  Smith & Nephew does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect any change in circumstances or in Smith & Nephew's expectations.

* Trademark of Smith & Nephew.  Certain marks registered US Patent and Trademark Office.

SOURCE Smith & Nephew
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