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Breast implant maker heads to trial over dangerous product

Michigan residents who choose to undergo cosmetic or reconstructive surgery do so for a variety of reasons. There are always risks when it comes to surgery, but patients should be able to trust that they are in good care with their physicians, surgeons and other medical staff. In addition to the competence of these medical professionals, it is important that any medical instruments, implants or prosthesis that will be used are safe and up to legal and medical standards. In some very unfortunate cases, patients are harmed because such products are dangerous or defective.

The founder and chief executive of a company that manufactures breast implants, as well as four other executives of the company, are on trial this week where they face criminal charges for manufacturing potentially dangerous medical products.

The French company Poly Implant Prothese was once the third largest supplier of breast implants in the world, and more than 300,000 women worldwide have been fitted with its implants.

The company's founder and executives are facing charges for aggravated fraud for selling implants that were reportedly made with silicone gel of an industrial grade that was not approved for such use.

In addition to the criminal charges, more than 5,000 women have filed lawsuits against the company.

The implants were ordered off of the market in 2010 when the French government found that the implants ruptured at a high rate. In the aftermath of that revelation, women all over the world who had the implants have rushed to have them removed.

While a direct link between the implants and breast cancer has not been established, the company is currently under investigation for manslaughter after one woman with the implants died of cancer.

The criminal trial is expected to last until mid-May. The timeline for the civil lawsuits and the manslaughter case is unclear.

Source: Reuters, "Makers of fraudulent breast implants go on trial in France," April 17, 2013

  • Our law firm helps victims of plastic surgery errors seek compensation. More information is available on our Cosmetic Surgery Malpractice page.

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