11 Dec 2013

Maker of faulty breast implants sentenced to prison

5:41 am on 11 December 2013

The founder of a French breast implant company was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday for hiding the true nature of sub-standard silicone used in implants sold to 300,000 women around the world.

Jean-Claude Mas leaves court in Marseille after being sentenced to prison.

Jean-Claude Mas leaves court in Marseille after being sentenced to prison. Photo: AFP

Jean-Claude Mas, 74, founder and chief executive of Poly Implant Prothese was prosecuted after France recommended in 2011 that women with such implants should have them removed due to an abnormally high rupture rate. A flurry of international lawsuits followed.

PIP was shut in 2010 and its implants ordered off the market after inspectors discovered vats of industrial-grade silicone outside the factory.

A criminal court in Marseille also ordered Mas to pay a fine of 75,000 euro ($US103,000). Lawyer Yves Haddad said he would appeal.

Four other executives, including the chief financial officer, were sentenced to various terms in prison.

Their trial in April and May was held in an exhibition centre to accommodate 7400 civil plaintiffs and 300 lawyers.

Mas admitted using silicone that was never approved by regulators and which cost a seventh of the price of silicone approved for use in medical devices.

Ingredients were concealed from regulators, thereby allowing the implants to be sold on international markets.

Mas has insisted the gel he had relied on since the founding of the company in 1991 was non-toxic.