Around 250 women are planning to sue at least 6 clinics in the UK for fitting breast implants filled with industrial silicone.
Frenchwoman Edwige Ligoneche was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare form of lymphatic cancer, two years after having the implants, filled with silicone usually used in mattresses. The implants are also implicated in another seven or eight cancer cases.
The breast implants are filled with the same silicone that is used in mattresses
The French government has told all women with the French-made implants to have them taken out, and promises it will foot the entire bill for their removal in up to 30,000 cases.
New figures from the MHRA said that 84,300 of the implants, manufactured by PIP, have been sold to people in the UK since 2001. This means an estimated 42,000 women in the UK could be affected, based on the assumption that each woman has two implants.
But the British government will not be footing the bill for them. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Action (MHRA) said it had consulted with experts in nine countries over the safety concerns with the implants. They all agreed that there was no proof of increased cancer risk.
However, data from the MHRA shows it has received 411 reports of the implants failing in British patients since 2001, an estimated 1 per cent of women with the implants in the UK.
Mark Harvey, a partner at Hugh James solicitors, is pursuing legal action against the British clinics where women had the breast implant operations. He said: “We wanted to pursue claims against [makers] PIP or its insurers, but as the company has since closed it is quite clear that is not viable.”
He argues that clinics had charged clients thousands of pounds to fit the implants when they were only worth a few hundred, and had entered into contracts promising the implants would last a lifetime and would not rupture or leak. Douglas McGeorge, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said:
"People with PIP implants do have a higher failure rate and there is a significant risk at some point they might rupture."
"If this is a worry for patients, the sensible thing to do is to get them replaced earlier rather than later."
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011