Rift grows between Britain and France over breast implant scare

 

There was disagreement between British and French authorities over the advice to women with defective breast implants yesterday as the two governments declared themselves firmly on opposite sides of the debate.

And after Britain and France offered conflicting advice on the risks posed by the implants, Interpol announced it is seeking the arrest of Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of the company at the centre of the cancer scare.

Earlier in the day the French Health Minister, Xavier Bertrand, urged French women to have the implants made by Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) removed, England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, insisted that a simple check-up was sufficient and routine removal was not necessary.

The French government said it would pay for the removal but not the replacement of implants, which could cost women several thousand pounds. The only exception was for women who had undergone breast reconstruction for cancer. Mr Bertrand did allay anxiety about a cancer link: the health ministry said there was no evidence that women with PIP implants had a higher risk of cancer than those with other makes.

That, however, only made their advice to women to have the implants routinely removed more puzzling. Surgery involving general anaesthesia carries a risk. The risk from leaving the implants in place only comes if they rupture. Regular monitoring, with removal if they do so, ought to be sufficient to reassure most women. Mr Bertrand accepted that removal was a “preventive measure” and that it was “not urgent”.

In England, Professor Davies said: “Women with PIP implants should not be unduly worried. We have no evidence of a link to cancer or an increased risk of rupture. While we respect the French government's decision, no other country is taking similar steps.”

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons said it was “concerned” at the French authorities' recommendation, especially in light of their acknowledgement that there was no cancer link.

“The French decision will have heightened anxiety for some women with PIP implants. We reiterate that urgent action is not required as women are not at immediate risk but do recommend they consult a competent, responsible plastic surgeon with any concerns,” the association said. However, lawyers acting for more than 270 women in the UK planning to sue the clinics where they underwent surgery welcomed the recommendation by the French authorities and said they thought the women should have the implants removed.

About 300,000 implants were sold worldwide before PIP went bust last year, more than 84,000 of them in the UK. Assuming each woman has two implants that implies around 42,000 affected in the UK but the number could be higher. PIP used non-medical grade silicone believed to be made for mattresses which meant the low-cost devices were more likely to split.

Of the 30,000 fitted in France, more than 1,000 have ruptured, a rate over 3 per cent. However, figures from the MHRA suggest the rupture rate in the UK is lower at 1 per cent.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas