Breast implant removal will not be free

UP TO 878 women who had PIP breast implants have been told that the Harley Medical Group will not remove them free of charge unless they have a rupture.

The company, which is based in Britain but has an office in central Dublin, confirmed yesterday that the 14,000 women in Britain who had undergone the implant procedure would not get free replacements.

On the 878 women here who had the PIP implants inserted by the Harley Medical Group, those with a “concerned rupture” and who have had the implants since January 2010 can have them removed free of charge.

However, anyone else who dealt with the Harley Medical Group here who wants to have them removed will likely pay in the region of €1,800 and above. That is despite the chief medical officer in Ireland, Tony Holohan, calling on private hospitals to be willing to remove the PIP implants if such action was recommended. British Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he believed private clinics had a moral duty to look after their patients.

The implants were manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prostheses, which has now closed.

Last month, serious concerns emerged over possible leaking with the implants, although no cancer link has been established.

The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) claimed the Harley Medical Group misinformed them on two separate occasions concerning the recent breast implants scare, essentially informing the IMB that direct specific patient contact had been made when, instead, letters were never sent and communication to patients was via the group’s website. The IMB said letters were due to be sent this week.

French authorities swiftly moved to assure women affected by the PIP implants they would be able to undergo corrective action free of charge, but that policy has not been pursued here.

However, Mr Holohan has said that while there is no need for routine removal of implants, any woman who is concerned should contact her GP or the surgeon who carried out the procedure.

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