Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

France

Faulty breast implant trial opens in France

© AFP

Video by Luke BROWN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-17

It is set to be one of the biggest and most expensive court cases in French legal history, as directors of French breast implant manufacturer PIP go on trial for allegedly using sub-standard materials. The case involves some 5,000 plaintiffs.

One of France’s biggest-ever trials opened on Wednesday, with five directors of a breast-implant company accused of selling faulty products using sub-standard materials.

Some 5,000 women have registered as plaintiffs in the case against French implant manufacturer PIP.

The company’s directors, including PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas (pictured), were charged with aggravated fraud after it was found they were using industrial-grade silicone in the implants, which is twice as likely to rupture. They face up to five years jail if convicted.

"My clients are incredibly angry and determined," says solicitor Mark Harvey

Around 300,000 women in 65 countries received PIP breast implants. More than 4,000 women have reported ruptures in the implants. In France alone 15,000 have had them replaced.

Hundreds of the victims, as well as some 300 lawyers, are expected to attend the trial which opens in the southern French city of Marseille.

The proceedings have been moved from the regular courthouse to the city’s conference centre, with seating available for 1,500 in two large rooms.

Despite the health scare that broke in 2011, health officials in various countries have said the implants were not toxic and did not increase the risk of breast cancer.

Nevertheless, victims say they are anxious to see PIP representatives held to account for the trauma and worry suffered by women with the implants.

"Even if not all the women have significant physical or psychological after-effects, they have all been marked for life," Joelle Manighetti, a 56-year-old breast cancer survivor who received a PIP implant after a mastectomy, told AFP.

Booming market for implants

Mas, a former travelling salesman who got his start in the medical business by selling pharmaceuticals, founded PIP in 1991 to take advantage of a booming market for cosmetic implants.

His company became the world’s third-largest global supplier of implants, but came under the spotlight when plastic surgeons began reporting an unusual number of ruptures.

After investigation, health authorities later alleged he was saving millions of euros by using industrial-grade gel in 75 percent of the implants. PIP's implants were banned and the company eventually went into liquidation.

More than 80 percent of PIP implants were exported, with around half going to Latin America, a third to countries in Western Europe, about 10 percent to eastern Europe and the rest to the Middle East and Asia.

France is so far the only country that has compensated women for having the implants replaced, but at ceiling of 4,200 euros ($5,500).

Many of the plaintiffs are hoping the trial will open the door to more widespread compensation, including for women outside France.

Lawyers for some of them have called for plastic surgeons and the German safety standards firm TUV Rheinland that gave the implants the all-clear to also face criminal charges.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-04-17

  • HEALTH

    Germany urges removal of PIP breast implants

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    From saucisson to breast implants: PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas

    Read more

COMMENT(S)