Hundreds of women expected for French breast implants mega-trial

Hundreds of women expected for French breast implants mega-trial

MARSEILLE - Agence France-Presse
Hundreds of women expected for French breast implants mega-trial

Some 300,000 women are believed to have received theindustrial-grade silicone implants. AFP photo

France will launch one its biggest-ever trials tomorrow as five managers from company PIP face charges of selling faulty breast implants that sparked a global health scare.

More than 5,000 women have registered as plaintiffs in the case, which sees the defendants including 73-year-old PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas charged with aggravated fraud for using industrial-grade silicone in implants.

An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have received the implants, which are twice as likely to rupture as other brands.

News of the faulty implants in 2011 sparked fears worldwide, but health officials in various countries have said they were not toxic and did not increase the risk of breast cancer. A 10-year case study has been launched in France to determine the long-term effects.

More than 4,000 women have reported ruptures in the implants and in France alone 15,000 have had the PIP implants replaced.

Hundreds of the victims, as well as some 300 lawyers, are expected to attend the trial in the southern port city of Marseille, near PIP’s former headquarters. Authorities have moved the proceedings to a hall of the city’s congress center that seats 700 people and provided three other rooms where more than 800 others will be able to watch video transmissions.

The logistical costs of the trial have been estimated at 800,000 euros. The defendants face up to five years in prison and the trial is set to last until May 17.

France is the only major country that has compensated women for having the implants replaced, but at ceiling of 4,200 euros.

Many of the plaintiffs are hoping the trial will open the door to more widespread compensation, including for women outside France.