Women with defective French breast implants may claim damages only in France: EU court adviser

FILE PHOTO: Plastic surgeon Denis Boucq displays a defective silicone gel breast implant manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) after he removed it from a patient in a clinic in Nice January 5, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Victims of defective breast implants made by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) may only get compensation if they had the procedure in France, an adviser at Europe’s top court said on Thursday, in a potential blow to thousands of women worldwide.

The opinion by Advocate General Michal Bobek at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) came after a German patient sought compensation from PIP’s French insurer Allianz IARD in a German court for faulty breast implants.

The PIP scandal, which emerged in 2010, affected about 300,000 women in some 65 countries worldwide. The company filled its implants with unauthorized industrial silicone instead of medical silicone. It shut down in 2010.

“The civil liability insurance of breast implant producer PIP could validly be limited to women who underwent surgery in France,” Advocate General Michal Bobek said in his non-binding opinion on Thursday.

Bobek said that it was for EU countries to regulate insurance policies relating to medical devices used on their territory even if they were imported from another member state.

PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas was jailed for four years and fined 75,000 euros ($82,522.50) in 2013 after a police investigation revealed a sophisticated fraud.

The court, which will issue its ruling in the coming months, usually follows the opinions of its advisers in four out of five cases.

(This story fixes typo in headline)

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; Editing by Gareth Jones


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