A trial has begun in the southern French city of Marseille for the former head of the company behind the global health scare which saw hundreds of thousands of women being given substandard breast implants.
Jean-Claude Mas, 73, founded PIP. The company was discovered to be using industrial grade silicone which is not approved for medical use.
A sports hall had to be converted into a temporary courtroom to house the large numbers of complainants. 30,000 women were affected in France alone along with many others in other countries.
“We were tricked,” said one woman, “you expect a doctor to look after you. You put your life in their hands and then you end up being tricked like this. It’s really frightening.”
“I became seriously depressed,” admitted another, “it was very hard to take, especially after having had cancer.
Mas and four co-defendants face charges of aggravated fraud which carry sentences of up to five years and large fines.
It is estimated in total 300,000 women in 65 countries received the potentially faulty implants.
French inspectors ordered the PIP implants off the market in March 2010 due to concerns over their quality.
Medical experts recommended they be surgically removed from patients – prompting a global scare.