German PIP safety body found liable in landmark case, must award victims compensation

A French appeal court has ruled that thousands of victims of the PIP breast implant scandal are to be compensated. 

10 years after the TUV1 case was brought, German safety body TUV Rheinland, which issued safety certificates for the faulty breast implants manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), has been found liable and will now have to fully compensate the victims involved in the case. This includes 540 British women, some of which still have the implants in place because they can’t afford to have them removed or replaced. The court also upheld an earlier judgement of negligence by TUV. 

It emerged in 2010 that the faulty implants were filled with industrial-grade silicone that was not safe or cleared for human use. PIP was then liquidated, but the faulty implants had been in manufacture since 2001. Many of the implants ruptured, causing the silicone to leak into the body and lead to often debilitating side effects and illnesses. Up to 400,000 women worldwide are thought to have received the implants. 

BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) Mary O’ Brien said to the BBC: “The human cost and distress to many women and their families following surgery involving PIP implants is sobering.” The Association supported the development of the International Collaboration of Breast Registry Activities (ICOBRA), which provides internationally coordinated guidance for national registries and which the NHS Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry is part of. 

Read our interview with Mary O'Brien.