Action group meets with CMO over implants

Representatives from the PIP Action Group say they have had a "very positive" meeting with the state's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

Representatives from the PIP Action Group say they have had a "very positive" meeting with the state's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

It follows Dr Holohan's evidence at the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday where he insisted the fallout from the toxic breast implant controversy would not cost the taxpayer.

It has yet to be confirmed if the three private clinics involved will bear the cost of the implant removal - but the group says the indications are positive.

Mother-of-three Jean Noctor, from Wicklow, said: “We feel like we’ve stepped forward a bit.

“We are still in conversation with Dr Holohan and he is still in conversation with the clinics as to where the burden is going to lie.”

The 31-year-old, who had her breast implants fitted in 2007 through The Harley Medical Group, described the last few months as a waiting game.

“I know everything is being tested and data is being collected, but I’m worried that in a couple of years down the line that something will come back that is really seriously damaging to our health,” she added.

“My main priority is that I am well for my children.”

Dr Holohan said yesterday that the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) would make it a priority to force the three clinics that used an industrial-grade gel in breast implants to take financial responsibility.

He insisted the organisations have a duty of care to the women who received the controversial implants not knowing they were defective.

It first emerged two years ago that breast implants created by French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were defective and that they were being withdrawn from use.

Of the 1,550 women in Ireland believed to have had them implanted over the last 10 years, 138 have experienced a rupture – 35 of whom had ruptures in both breasts.

The implants were found to have contained industrial-grade silicone, which is used to stuff mattresses, and in many cases ruptured.

While studies have since found that the industrial-grade silicone poses no health risks, the women have been advised to have the objects removed.

It is estimated that “explantation” for every woman concerned would cost the Department of Health €10m – funding it has not committed itself to.

Dr Holohan said he has contacted all three clinics concerned and received a generally positive response from the first two – Clane Hospital in Co Kildare and Shandon Street Hospital in Co Cork.

However, he said the third – Harley Medical Group – had been slow to respond to his correspondence and that he has only recently managed to receive assurances from bosses that they will endeavour to fulfil their obligations to their former patients.

The French firm that made the implants has since gone out of business. It is now being investigated for fraud.

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