Alert over implants spreads to men's chest enhancements
Doctors warn the scandal exposes the risks of opening healthcare up to private firms
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Friday 06 January 2012
The French company at the centre of the breast implant scare also made false testicles and implants to enhance male chests, according to former employees.
The claims, reported in Le Parisien newspaper yesterday, come as doctors in Britain warn that the scandal has exposed the risks of allowing private companies to operate in the healthcare market, as envisaged under the NHS reforms.
Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), which made breast implants filled with a cheap industrial-grade silicone, also created prosthetic silicone testicles – used following surgery for testicular cancer – according to the allegations.
Together with pectoral implants for men, and buttock implants for women, they are believed to have been exported worldwide.
The newspaper said it was not clear if the silicone used in the fake testicles was of the same sub-standard grade as that in the breast implants.
One of the former employees said the male chest and the buttock implants had contained the same industrial-grade silicone as the breast implants.
"For aesthetic reasons some of our clients, especially those in South America, ordered them, and in that case the gel used to make them was the suspect gel," he said. The false pectorals were aimed at men who felt they were "not very well-built". None of the male implants are believed to have reached the UK .
The latest development comes as the Government prepares to issue advice to women today over the PIP implants following a review of the evidence.
Doctors from the Faculty of Public Health warned yesterday that the risk of similar scandals would increase with the "vast increase in private provision" proposed under the NHS reforms.
"The Health and Social Care Bill will further fragment data collection on health outcomes, making it even more difficult to check the quality of health care received by the public," it says.
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