Testing company must pay victims of breast implant leaks: ‘An end to uncertainty’ | healthy

Hundreds of thousands of women around the world who have fallen ill due to leaking breast implants are entitled to compensation. The German inspection company TÜV Rheinland is responsible for the suffering of the victims. The French Court of Justice ruled today in Paris. Ruling in favor of 180 Dutch victims in a different proceeding.

The ruling in Paris ends years of a grueling lawsuit filed by a first group of 2,700 victims – most of them French -. They went to court because German company TÜV Rheinland approved the controversial silicone from Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP).

In 2010, it became known that the French manufacturer did not use a special gel for medicinal purposes, but rather cheap synthetic silicone. The implants often leak and break, causing inflammation and physical and mental health problems.

Because PIP and the Dutch importer Rofil went bankrupt, the victims turned to the German inspection company. The women believe that TÜV has failed to gain control.


Internal emails show that the inspectors worked side by side, were lenient and had no idea what they were looking for. As a result, hundreds of thousands of women have walked around with illegal silicone infusion in their breasts.

A plastic surgeon shows a broken PIP silicone breast implant © Environmental Protection Agency

Initially, in 2013, the TÜV court ordered the TÜV to pay damages to 2,700 French women. But the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence overturned that decision in 2015, despite ample evidence.

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Three years later, the Supreme Court decided that the case should be re-examined by the Paris Court of Appeal. This is still now a woman’s right.

The end of doubts

“We are pleased with this result,” says their lawyer, Olivier Omitri. “This puts an end to doubts about the responsibility of the TÜV. After 10 years of waiting and hard fighting, the German inspection company will have to fully compensate the victims.”

At a later stage in the French lawsuit, 180 Dutch women also joined. A total of 25,000 women from 14 countries perform five procedures against TÜV. And the Dutch victims in their case have already been acquitted by both the French court and the court – earlier this year.

Therefore the ruling by the court in Paris regarding the first group of victims is also good news for the Dutch women, who are represented by SAP Advocaten. “This case is one of the long term ones,” says personal injury attorney John Van Oers on their behalf. “We have been involved in this procedure for our clients since 2014, where TÜV has done everything to avoid liability. This mystery is now over. ”

According to Van Oers, judgment is also important to the safety of other patients in the future. “It shows that the large parties in the legal system responsible for verifying product safety are also accountable if they fail to do so.”

Calculate strength

According to attorney Aumatre, the “end of the exercise” belongs to TÜV Rheinland. “No replay is possible. With today’s decision, the question is no longer whether TÜV should compensate the victims, but when and how. ”

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TÜV can expect a hefty bill, according to the attorney. “Not only because of the number of victims and the damage caused by PIP implants. The high amount is also due to the fact that TÜV kept victims waiting for a long time and consistently demonstrated disdain for these women. The lost time greatly exacerbated the health consequences.”

PIP Director Jean-Claude Maas is approached by a woman in court in Aix-en-Provence (2015).
PIP Director Jean-Claude Maas is approached by a woman in court in Aix-en-Provence (2015). © Agence France-Presse

Medical experts will now map the damage to each victim. In many cases, this is a great thing, because health complaints have worsened over time.


More than half of the implanted victims have ruptured, causing the silicone to spread throughout the body and causing inflammation. They can also reach the lungs and other organs through the lymph nodes. Thirty percent of women suffer from this.

The amounts could run into the tens of thousands of euros per victim. Lawyer Umitri has already demanded compensation ranging from 20,000 to 70,000 euros for a first group of patients. The judge will make a decision in mid-September.

An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries have had PIP implants. A quarter of the fillings were defective. PIP Director Jean-Claude Maas has been sentenced to 4 years imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros.

TÜV testing company believes it has been misled by PIP, and disclaims any liability. It claims to have checked only the quality system and not the silicone itself.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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