Sunday, February 12, 2012

The PIP scandal and the role of the MHRA

A barrister friend of mine recently put together a paper which discussed the PIP implant debacle which has begun to unfold into one of the great medical scandals to hit the UK in recent times. Cosmetic surgery negligence can be hard to prove in many cases but the facts surrounding the PIP story are truly staggering.

My friend wrote:

The latest scandal to hit the mammoplasty industry relates to  breast implants produced by Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP).   In 2010 France banned the implants produced by PIP due to the belief that there was an increased chance of the implants rupturing and leading to complications.  In fact, it  was found that the company had been using industrial grade silicone, normally used for fitting mattresses and computer parts, instead of medical grade silicone; the usage of this cheaper silicone saved the company approximately £840m per year. Worryingly, it is estimated that over 40,000 women in the UK have had breast implants produced by PIP since 2001.

The legal industry has been lobbying the government for many years via the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ("MHRA") warning them to wake up to the risks involved with breast implants and the manufacturing process. As far back as 2003 law firms have been raising concerns about the failure rate of some of the implant prostheses but the MHRA / NHS simply took no notice.

Now that this scandal has been the subject of a media frenzy (righly so) the government have kicked into action. However it is far too late for many women who continue to face an uncertain future. There are moves afoot to commence group action litigation against the MHRA and the government with the primary argument being that they did too little too late whilst allegedly being aware of the true facts for a considerable period of time.

This story will run for some time yet but for the 40,000 unlucky PIP recipients, one can only hope the government brings the uncertainty and misery to an end any time soon.

No comments: