Implants chief wanted by Interpol

The chief executive of a French company whose questionable breast implants are under international scrutiny is on the Interpol police agency’s most-wanted list.

The chief executive of a French company whose questionable breast implants are under international scrutiny is on the Interpol police agency’s most-wanted list.

Interpol’s website says Jean-Claude Mas is wanted by Costa Rican authorities for crimes involving “life and health”.

It bears a photo of 72-year-old Mas but does not elaborate on his alleged crimes or link to Costa Rica.

The international police agency based in France issued a so-called red notice for Mr Mas, who ran Poly Implant Prothese, which is in liquidation.

France offered yesterday to pay for 30,000 women to have their PIP implants removed because of the risk the products could rupture and leak industrial-grade silicone.

Tens of thousands of other women elsewhere in Europe and in South America have the same French-made implants, but authorities there have so far refused to follow suit. The silicone-gel implants are not sold in the US.

Over the past week, the safety fears have created a public furore over something usually kept private, even in France. Women, some whose own families did not know they had their breasts enlarged, marched on Paris to demand more attention to worries about what might be happening inside them.

Images of leaking implants and women having mammograms have been splashed on French TV.

More than 1,000 ruptures pushed health minister Xavier Bertrand to recommend that the estimated 30,000 women in France with the implants get them removed at the state’s expense.

Mr Bertrand insisted the removals would be “preventive” and not urgent and French health authorities said they had found nothing to link the implants to nine cases of cancer in women.

The death last month of a woman who had the implants and developed a rare cancer – anaplastic large-cell lymphoma – had intensified worries.

The implants were taken off the market last year in countries around Europe and South America where they had been sold. The company’s website said it exported to more than 60 countries and was one of the world’s leading implant makers.

France’s health safety agency says the PIP implants appear to be more rupture-prone than other types. Also, investigators say PIP used industrial silicone instead of the medical variety to save money, but the medical risks posed by industrial silicone are unclear.

The financial burden of the French government’s decision falls on the state health care system, which estimated the removals could cost €60m at a time when the country is teetering on the brink of another recession and struggling with debt.

In recommending removal, the government noted the risks associated with major surgery and general anaesthesia.

Because of those risks, many women may decide against removal. The government said those women should be examined every six months.

It is understood that more than 1,500 Irish women have had the PIP implants fitted at three private hospitals since 2010.

The Irish Medicines Board said only a small percentage of Irish women had reported adverse side effects.

The organisation is advising hospitals that use these implants to contact any woman who may have received them since January 1, 2001.

It also recommends that any concerned patients should contact their plastic surgeon for advice.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox