Marseille, France — A French court sentenced Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) founder Jean-Claude Mas, a 74-year-old Frenchman, to four years’ jail on Tuesday after his faulty breast implants became a scandal and led to a global health scare.
He was also banned permanently from working in medical services or running a company. Four PIP executives were convicted and given lesser sentences.
Two years ago PIP revealed that they were using unapproved in-house manufactured industrial-grade silicone instead of medical approved silicone in the majority of its implants.
They used the unapproved silicone because it was less expensive than medical-grade silicone and allowed the company higher profits.
Health authorities discovered that 75% of their implants were made of industrial-grade silicone. The low-cost gel can rupture and cause inflammation and irritation. It may also release toxic substances.
“Jean-Claude Mas did not fear for about 10 years to sell breast implants which contained a gel… made using uncertain procedures,” the court said, adding that they had not been subjected to “obligatory tests and examinations”.
Yves Haddad, Mas’ lawyer, said that he was “disappointed but not surprised”, and that his client would appeal.
The medical issue arose in 2010 after doctors observed breast implants from PIP had abnormally high rupture rates, and the company soon began receiving multiple legal complaints.
By 2011 some 300,000 women in 65 countries were believed to have received faulty implants.