Australia is the latest country to launch an inquiry into the health risks faced by women who received breast implants from the French manufacturer PIP.
Some 4,500 Australian women are concerned, and the country’s Therapeutic Goods Administration will review all available information on rupture rates for the implants. One lawyer said the way may be open for the women to sue jointly in a class action law suit.
“The reason for that is that we’re dealing with one product, most likely, and also the considerable number of females in Australia that are potentially affected,” said Tim White.
Seventy two women have already had one or both implants ruptured, and it is alleged that PIP, once the world’s number three implant maker, used industrial, not medical silicone and defective casings for the implants. The company went bankrupt in 2010 after an official investigation revealed its practices, and many documents disappeared from its factory.
“I think it’s a little early to say how we’re going to deal with the many thousands of patients. I think if these patients were to find their way back, in the first instance, to the surgeons that treated them, then ideally they would be assessed. They may need to undergo some form of imaging, and certainly if there’s evidence that these implants are ruptured or show any signs of a leak then there is a moral and an ethical duty on these companies that provided those implants and indeed the surgeons that conducted them to extend a helping hand to those patients,” said plastic surgeon David Ross.
A French judge and investigators visited the company’s deserted headquarters and factory in southern France on Wednesday.