PIP breast implant link to foetal risk ‘alarming’

Solicitors representing some of the Irish women who received faulty PIP breast implants have said new claims about potential risk to unborn children are “alarming” and could influence legal actions.

PIP breast implant link to foetal risk ‘alarming’

A new report published in the British Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has claimed that the faulty implants, made by the French firm Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP), could threaten developing foetuses.

The report’s authors said the implants contain a high proportion of molecules known as D4 that act as an endocrine-disrupting chemical that in low doses can harm the unborn child.

The claims were carried in the British press yesterday and last night a partner at the Dublin law firm Lavelle Coleman said news would cause concern among women with PIP implants here.

As many as 1,500 Irish women have the faulty implants, with around 1,000 women having them fitted by the Harley Medical Group (Ireland) which has since gone into liquidation.

Last year, the Department of Health said Harley Medical Group had “failed to provide an appropriate care package for its clients”.

Lavelle Coleman represents more than 100 women with PIP implants and last night a partner at the firm, Avril Scally, said: “The findings of the report published today will only serve to further increase the anxiety and stress that our clients are experiencing.

“The news is alarming considering that the majority of the recipients of the breast implants are of child-bearing age.

“The question that remains unanswered for our clients is who is ultimately responsible for permitting unsafe breast implants to be used in surgical procedures?

“The regulatory bodies must ensure that the companies producing medical products are operating correctly and seek a review of their certification process, to ensure the safety of the patients using these products.”

Another firm, McGarr solicitors, said it has launched 12 High Court actions on behalf of women with PIP implants, with another eight likely to proceed.

Edward McGarr said the new claims in the medical journal raised questions over the risk threshold of the implants. He said the information could change the nature of the claims.

Last year Health Minister James Reilly said the State would pursue the Harley Medical Group for any state money spent providing consultations and treatment to women.

Last night, the Department of Health said the HSE would provide services to women with PIP implants, after discussions with the National Treatment Purchase Fund, and “the HSE is currently scoping the required care arrangements for PIP clients and will advise the department of its work in this regard.”

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