INTERNATIONAL NEWS
December 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM
  Follow @ Twitter

More than 250 British women are taking court action after more than half experienced ruptures in breast implants made by a French company at the centre of a cancer scare, a lawyer said today.

The women are among up to 50,000 in Britain who have had implants that were manufactured by the now-bankrupt Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

Health officials in France have said the government plans to recommend to 30,000 French women with PIP implants that they have them removed, after eight cases of cancer, mainly breast cancer, were reported.

A lawyer representing more than 250 women in Britain said legal proceedings would start next year, with the complainants making claims against the clinics which carried out the operations to insert the implants.

"Over half of these women have suffered ruptured implants and we are also representing other women who are worried by the reports of problems and worried that their implants could rupture eventually," lawyer Esyllt Hughes told AFP.

"We have issued some court proceedings and we expect them to begin in Cardiff next year."

Documents obtained by AFP on Wednesday showed that tens of thousands of women in more than 65 countries, mainly in South America and western Europe, received implants produced by PIP, which ceased trading last year.

European authorities sought Wednesday to head off panic over the scare, saying there was no proof of a link to cancer.

France's health ministry however has said there was no "urgent health risk" from the implants and no "causal link" with cancer has yet been proved.

An expert report will be released in France on Friday saying whether the implants should be removed.

PIP was shut down and its products banned last year after it was revealed to have been using non-authorised silicone gel that caused abnormally high rupture rates of its implants.

Facing financial difficulties, the company, once the world's third-largest producer of silicone implants, replaced the medical-grade silicone in its implants with industrial-strength material.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Britain urged patients not to panic, although it said they may want to consult their surgeons.

"We did extensive genotoxic and chemical tests and we could find no evidence of any safety aspect associated with this filler," MHRA medical director Suzanne Ludgate told BBC radio.

"We have been working very closely with the professional bodies to look at the incidence of cancer associated with these breast implants and we've worked with the cancer registry and we can find no evidence for any association."

In Germany, authorities said it was not known how many German women had received the implants and no recall was planned for the moment.

"We are waiting for the decision from French authorities, with whom we are in close contact," a health ministry spokesman told AFP.

German authorities "had already in April warned women and doctors who used these products," he said.

In Spain the health ministry said it was not recommending the implants be removed but was urging women who had received the implants to have them checked for ruptures.

It also could not say how many Spanish women had received the implants.

The documents seen by AFP also showed eastern European countries including Bulgaria, Russia and Poland accounted for 10 percent of PIP's exports in 2009.

Prosecutors in Marseille, near the firm's home base of Seyne-sur-Mer, have received more than 2,000 complaints from French women who received the implants and have opened a criminal investigation into the firm.

Yves Haddad, a lawyer for 72-year-old PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas, told AFP his client was prepared to face prosecution and denied the implants could be linked with health problems.

"For the moment there is no evidence that the product can cause illness," the lawyer said.

AFP

YOU'RE MINE


PREVIOUS STORY
'Millions' mourn N. Korean strongman
NEXT STORY
White House takes tax fight to Twitter

Bookmark and Share
   




FIJI NEWS
Aussie actress weds at Turtle IslandOne of Australia's favourite small-screen actresses reportedly tied the knot in Fiji early this month.
BUSINESS
PAYE lodgement extended till month endLodgement of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) final electronic monthly summaries has been extended till the end of the month.
SPORTS
Suva ends 38-year Sangam IDC droughtSuva's 38-year wait to lift the Sangam Inter District Championship title ended at Lawaqa Park this evening as the Whites defeated Rifle Range 1-0 in the grand final.
HEALTH/FITNESS
Clean-up day to curb dengue outbreakFiji's Ministry of Health has declared a clean-up day next Thursday for residents in the central division as it ups the tempo against a dengue fever outbreak currently experienced in the country.
ENTERTAINMENT
Sam Smithís debut In The Lonely Hour out in MayBRIT and BBC Sound Poll winner Sam Smithís debut album In The Lonely Hour is out on May 23.
NEWS SPORTS INFOTAINMENT SERVICES MOBILE EXTRA HOT TOPICS