Thousands of victims of the PIP Breast Implant Scandal will now receive compensation for their suffering, a French court has announced.
The victory comes 10 years after the women involved in the case began their fight for justice, and this outcome could have far-reaching implications for other victims around the world.
The judgment ruled that the German safety body, TUV Rheinland, was negligent in awarding safety certificates to French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).
Lisa Lunt, Partner and Head of Medical Product Liability, said: “This is a landmark ruling for women whose lives have been ruined by defective medical products. It is about time that those responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of medical products are held to account for the decisions they make.
“This ruling could offer an alternative route to justice for victims who placed their trust in regulators to ensure the safety of any medical device implanted within them.”
PIP was liquidated in 2010. However, during its years of practice between 2001 and 2010, it is estimated that 400,000 women received the illegal implants manufactured by the company.
“I would hope that this ruling ensures that stricter controls, measures and standards are put in place to prevent any future repetition of this kind of medical scandal,” Lisa Lunt continued.
The court ruled that the women have suffered long-term health problems after receiving the implants and suggested that hundreds of them should be compensated by TUV.
TUV Rheinland response
In a statement, TUV said it challenged the court’s decision to hold them even partially liable.
“The evidence in this case clearly shows that TUV Rheinland acted diligently, in compliance with acceptable regulations, and it was not its role to track down the fraud pursuant to the regulation,” the firm said in a statement.”
In 2010, when the PIP scandal unfolded, the company went into liquidation. Shortly after, founder Jean-Claude Mas was jailed for four years and fined 75,000 Euros. None of the money went to the victims of the scandal.
The implants manufactured by PIP were almost six times more likely to rupture than other implants, according to the NHS.
Advocacy group PIP Implant World Victims Association (PIPA) said victims were seeking between 20,000 and 70,000 euros each.
One cohort of victims that may well benefit from this development is the women who are fighting for recognition of the damage caused to them by the Essure contraceptive device, which was an approved medical product until its license was not renewed in 2017.
Lisa Lunt explained: “Had the appropriate checks and balances been in place, the Essure device could have been prevented from ever reaching the market, or at least removed from the market much sooner than was in fact the case.
“This would have saved many women from years of pain and suffering at the hands of this device”.
If you’re among the 100,000 victims in the UK who were fitted with an Essure device, please head to essureclaimlawyersuk.com to join the action.