Women can get PIP refund from credit cards

Women who paid for defective breast implants by credit card may have a chance of getting their money back, it has emerged.

Around 1,500 Irish women have been affected by the health scare linked to the French-made PIP implants, which contained industrial-grade silicon gel.

A solicitor representing a number of women who received the implants said Irish women should take the lead from a woman in Britain who had the full cost of her original breast augmentation with PIP implants reimbursed by her credit card company because they were faulty goods.

Naas-based solicitor Liam Moloney said that, under the British consumer credit act, a creditor was liable for breaches by a supplier of services where the sum involved was between €100 and €30,000.

Mr Moloney said that any woman in Ireland who had paid for all or part of the breast implant procedure, including the initial consultation, might be able to secure a reimbursement for what were clearly defective goods.

The Harley Medical Group, which carried out most of the original procedures, has offered to remove the implants free of charge.

Clane General Hospital, Co Kildare, where 235 women were fitted with PIP implants, offered a scan and all defective implants replaced free of charge.

A total of 26 patients at the hospital required replacement of defective implants.

Chief executive of the Consumers Association of Ireland, Dermott Jewell, said the association often recommended that consumers use section 14 of the Consumer Protection act 1980 when dealing with credit card payments.

Mr Jewell said credit card companies had a lot of influence and could put retailers under an awful lot of pressure.

He said that women who paid for the breast implant procedure by credit card had every right to tell the credit card company that the implants were dangerous and demand their money back.

“There is a legal requirement that anything used in delivering a service must be of good quality and safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Medicines Board has confirmed that it has alerted cosmetic surgery clinics and radiologists about a “breast filler” that may interfere with breast cancer screenings.

The Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency in Britain has recommended that Macrolane products should not be injected into breasts because it may interfere with breast cancer examinations.

Q-Med AB in Sweden, the company that makes Macrolane, insists that the gel is safe and that all breast procedures could potentially interfere with mammograms.

However, Q-Med is no longer recommending Macrolane for the breast until medical experts agree on the best way to examine women who have had the treatment.

The board said that no safety concerns had been identified with the product and the issue related to difficulties thatit may cause during the interpretation of breast diagnostic imaging procedures, particularly mammography.

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