Defective breast prostheses: a company will have to compensate 7,000 complainants

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UPDATE DAY

Already ordered to compensate thousands of victims, the German TUV certifier of defective PIP breast prostheses was ordered by a French court on Thursday to compensate 7,000 new plaintiffs, announced the Pipa victims' association.

These plaintiffs, from Colombia and Argentina, but also from Scotland, England and France, obtained 2,500 euros (more than 3,600 dollars) in compensation for the damage suffered, before the Commercial Court of Toulon (south- eastern France), for a total of 17.5 million euros (25.5 million dollars).

This is less than the 5000 euros (more than 7200 dollars) obtained there a year by more than 1,600 other plaintiffs, but this sum is in line with the 3,000 euros (more than 4,300 dollars) in provisions awarded to the first victims.

For Me Olivier Aumaître, lawyer for the victims of Pipa, this new “overwhelming” decision for TUV proves that the new claims “are still admissible”, in particular because the experts have recognized the existence of permanent anxiety damage.

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“We find it unfortunate to have a court of first instance which decides when we are a few weeks away from the decisions of the Court of Cassation on several contradictory judgments”, reacted to AFP Me Christelle Coslin, TUV lawyer.

As a result, and because they 'disagree' with the decision, TUV Rheinland – which employs 20,000 people with a turnover of around 2 billion euros – will certainly appeal. 

For the German certifier, the bill could ultimately amount to hundreds of millions of euros, estimates Pipa, who has identified 35,000 victims in this legal battle close to finding an epilogue. 

More than ten years after the discovery of the fraud within PIP, a manufacturer in France of breast prostheses – whose founder Jean-Claude Mas died in 2019, putting an end to the lawsuits concerning the company -, the legal proceedings continue to against the certifier, who had never found any breaches.

This scandal erupted following an inspection by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) in March 2010. This French authority had noted an abnormal rate of rupture of PIP implants, which were filled with a non-conforming homemade gel instead of the required silicone gel, for the sake of economy.