December 24, 2011

Breast implant scare: Interpol seeks French boss arrest

Jean-Claude Mas with a breast implantJean-Claude Mas is currently staying in south-eastern France, reports say
Interpol has said it is seeking arrest of the founder of a French firm at the centre of a global breast implants scare.
The international police agency listed Jean-Claude Mas, aged 72, as being sought by Costa Rica for offences concerning "life and health".
Earlier, France advised 30,000 woman to remove faulty breast implants made by Mr Mas' Poly Implant Prothese firm.
It said there was no proven cancer risk but they could rupture dangerously.
However, the UK government ruled out routine removal, saying there was "no evidence" of a safety concern.
It is thought some 40,000 British women have the implants.
'Decency and discretion'
In a "red notice", Interpol posted two police mugshots of Mr Mas.
It said Mr Mas was wanted by the Costa Rican authorities, without providing any further details.
A lawyer for PIP told Reuters earlier on Friday that Mr Mas was in the south-eastern Var region of France and intended to stay there.
Yves Haddad added that Mr Mas had not spoken out publicly on the scandal out of "decency and discretion".
Women around the world have PIP's implants, however most of them live in South America and Western Europe.


A defective silicone gel breast implant, which was removed from a patient and manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese
  • The silicone inside the implants is not medical grade - but was intended for use in mattresses
  • Tests have not shown any increased risk of toxicity from this filler compared to normal implants
  • But mechanical testing has shown the implant covers have an increased risk of rupturing
  • The gel inside can be irritative, increasing the risk of inflammation reaction - making removal more difficult
  • There is no increased breast cancer risk
  • One case of a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) was recently reported in France
  • French and US experts suggest there is a small but increased risk of this cancer for women with breast implants in general
The French health ministry says women with PIP implants don not have a higher risk of cancer than women with implants made by other companies, but says there are "well-established risks of ruptures".
Health Minister Xavier Bertrand urged French women to have the implants removed as a "preventive measure," but said that it was not "urgent."
The corrective surgery will be paid for out of public health funds but the French state will only pay for a new implant if the treatment was done as part of reconstructive surgery following breast cancer.
If women do not want to have their implants removed, the state will pay for six-monthly ultrasound scans.
The UK medicines watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), says France has reported rupture rates of around 5% for PIP implants, compared with 1% in the UK.
Eight cases of cancer have been reported in women with the implants but the French authorities say these are not necessarily linked to faulty implants.
PIP went into administration last year and the use of its implants was banned.

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