Venezuelans want breast implants reimbursed
A hundred Venezuelan women said through their lawyer Friday they would file a lawsuit against the maker of faulty French-made breast implants and its local distributors to get reimbursed.
Poly Implant Prothese sold hundreds of thousands of implants made with sub-standard silicone gel around the world, and French authorities have advised 30,000 women to have PIP implants removed because of an increased risk they could rupture and leak silicone into the body.
"We will file a claim demanding protection for the rights to life and health," said attorney Gilberto Andrea, who represents a group of nearly 100 Venezuelan women.
His comments came as French health authorities said 20 cases of cancer had been uncovered in women with PIP implants, but insisted there was still no proven link with the disease.
In the complaint, due to be filed in mid-January against PIP and its distributors in Venezuela, the women will ask that a court "require that the implants be removed and replaced," and that the costs be assumed by the defendants, Andrea told AFP.
The filing will also ask that French courts be informed of the move in order to determine any French responsibility in the Venezuelan cases.
"We know that the French government has asked for technical and economic support for women affected by the implants, and we would like this take place for Venezuelan women as well. It can't be for French women alone," Andrea said.
Venezuela's public health service said Tuesday it would remove the French-made implants for free.
Between 300,000 and 400,000 women in 65 countries from Europe to Latin America have implants made with sub-standard silicone gel by 72-year-old Jean-Claude Mas's now-bankrupt company.
PIP was shut down and its products banned in April 2010 after it was revealed to have been using non-authorized silicone gel that caused abnormally high implant rupture rates.
According to PIP's 2010 bankruptcy filing, it had exported 84 percent of its annual production of 100,000 implants.
© 2011 AFP