In yet another blow to the breast implant market, the burgeoning scandal of the implants from Ploy Implant Prothese (known as “PIP”) has rapidly become a medical products liability nightmare.
The implants were used in over 400,000 women across 65 countries in Europe and South America. The implants have not been sold in the United States since 2000, but may effect women who have had their implants in place since then.
The implants were made with industrial-grade, rather than proper medical grade. Industrial-grade silicone has more contaminants. The silicone the company used had been manufactured for use in mattresses – not medical procedures. As many experts have noted, this means that no one can be sure just how dangerous the implants – or any particular set of PIP implants, actually are.
In fact, the company made two versions of the implants: one, using American medical-grade silicone, was used for wealthy patients. The other, containing the industrial silicone, was used for everyone else. Moreover, the shell used to contain the silicone is also shoddy, and weaker than the industry standard.
The implants thus run the risk of ruptures and leaks, which can lead to inflammation, scarring, and infection.
Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 2010, after the French government banned further use of the implants. The company’s assets have already been fully liquidated. Thus, victims of these substandard medical products are left with little-to-no financial recourse.
Fortunately, many to most of the implants were sold in countries with a national medical system. Some nations have decided to pay for removal and replacement of the implants, but all such nations will pay if medical problems emerge as a result of the implants. But women in other nations, such as any U.S. residents who may have obtained the implants abroad, are left with very little in the way of options.
But this is not the end of this legal story. In fact, the head of the French Company, 72-year-old Jean-Claude Mas, has now been arrested. He was charged at the national police station in Marseilles with involuntary injury, and is being held under house arrest in Six-Fours-les-Plages, a community in the South of France.
Mr. Mas has other legal problems, as well, including an admission to French police that he directed employees to hide the industrial-grade silicone from inspectors, and his admission that the company had been fooling EU inspectors for around 13 years.
Mr. Mas, however, remained completely unrepentant. In an interview, he stated that he did not wish to address the victims, and accused the victims of acting for financial, rather than medical, reasons.
Mr. Mas’ attitude is, sadly, typical of the attitude of those who manufacture consumer products, even medical products. It is because of this utter lack of concern for the health and safety of the public that the products liability laws are necessary. Consumers and patients cannot rely upon companies to ensure that their products are safe, but must attempt to scare manufacturers into caring for the safety of their patients via the threat of a lawsuit.
That is why, if you or a loved one have suffered injury due to a faulty medical devise, our top products liability attorneys urge you to talk to a lawyer about the possibility of legal action. Not only can you obtain compensation and justice for yourself, but your courage, and the legal judgment you obtain, may make the next Mr. Mas think twice before gambling with the health of the public.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago products liability lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.