Between 2001 and 2010, the French company, Poly Implant Prothèse, known as PIP, manufactured the breast implants, which were later found to be filled with industrial-grade silicone which was not suitable for human use.
The NHS estimates that around 47,000 British women had PIP implants fitted, most of whom are still living with them. The implants are 2 to 6 times more likely to rupture than standard silicone implants.
A French Appeal Court in Paris has yesterday found that more than 2,500 women who were fitted with PIP implants should receive compensation. The Court also upheld a previous judgement that the German firm TUV Rhineland, who had been responsible for checking the safety of the implants, had been negligent in issuing the safety certificates for the implants.
The PIP company shut down in 2010 and its founder, Jean-Claude Mas, was later sent to prison for four year. Lawyers for TUV said they disagreed with the French court's decision for holding the company liable, "even partly".
For the up to 400,000 women estimated to have received the implants worldwide, yesterday’s decision will be very welcome news. The decision is also expected to have a positive impact on cases of 20,000 other women who are pursuing a similar legal action in France. It is estimated that almost half of the women pursuing those cases are British.
Speaking, yesterday, on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Nicola Mason, one of the women who was fitted with the implants, described the decision as ‘a victory, it’s amazing.’ Many of the women who were victims of the PIP implants have been campaigning for compensation for up to 10 years or more, with Nicola explaining, ‘We’ve waited a long time for this.’
Shoosmiths’ Kate Price-Marson, a senior associate in the serious injury team, who previously dealt with thousands of victims of the PIP implants, remarked, ‘ It is wonderful to hear of this victory for the women who have endured such a long journey to obtain compensation. Tragically, many of the clinics and surgeons who fitted these women with PIP implants originally refused to replace them or ceased trading. This left many women with feelings of concern for their health, and uncertainty about which route they should take. For some women, the only route to compensation was claiming for the faulty implants under the Consumer Credit Act against their credit card or loan providers they used to purchase the implants. It is so important that lessons are learned from what happened with the PIP implants, so that steps can be taken to ensure that it never happens again.’
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2023