French and Venezuelan Governments to Pay for Breast Implant Removal
In the light of widespread concerns over breast implants using inferior grade silicon, French politicians have supported plans to fund treatment of 30,000 women who had these cut-rate breast augmentations from PIP. Around the world, an estimate 300,000 women have had breast implants made by this company–most of whom are from countries in Europe or Latin America.
It appears the company concerned, French based Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) did not have the necessary authorization from health licensing bodies for use of the substandard material used in the manufacture of these lower grade or “simple” implants. The company offered these cheaper implants using industrial grade silicone as a more affordable choice to women. Wealthier clients do not have to worry as much since higher quality and more expensive implants were also produced by the company. Regardless, Venezuela has followed suit also with a recent announcement that women in their country could also have PIP implants removed for free.
Jean-Claude Mas, the head of the PIP organisation which has now ceased trading, is being sought by the legal authorities to answer to the allegations that PIP knowingly used substandard industrial grade silicon gel.
“Just as Effective, But Five Times Cheaper?”
Whist not appearing or making any comment in person his legal representatives have made a statement referring to his current ill-health. They have also reported that, Mas, while admitting that the silicon was not of approved quality, said that it was “just as effective but five times cheaper.” Mas also still maintains that the substandard silicon gel product used was safe. And this despite a growing number of cases of rupture and infection from among PIP clients.
Further concern has been expressed as information has come to light regarding the past behaviour of this company. It has been confirmed that the company has a history of using inferior low-cost surgical products in the past. They almost certainly made decisions according to a price strategy than according to medical need. It would appear that more than ten years ago investigators from the US Food and Drug Administration visited the French manufacturing plant and reported that suspect materials were in use in the production of their products as far back as May 2000.
Risk of Cancer?
Clearly one major concern for women who have paid significant sums for the second class implants produced by PIP will be the risk that the product will put them at higher risk of cancer particularly as it is confirmed that the material used was of a lower industrial grade silicon gel. There are fears that a product which has not undergone the rigorous testing and received the necessary approval for use as a breast implant may be more prone to rupture and therefore may cause a risk of subsequent infection and unforeseeable health problems for these women.
[box type="important"]France itself has already advised the 30,000 women who have PIP implants to get them removed due to an established higher risk of rupture. [/box]
While there has been no confirmed risk of cancer to date, the French government is to bear the cost of the removal of these implants in order to preempt any possible dangers to those affected. In the UK, the health authority advise has taken a less proactive tone and women who have received the suspect PIP implants have been told to contact their plastic surgeons and take medical advise if they have concerns.