January 2023

Top Lines

  • Evidence is emerging that up to 47,000 British women are at risk of breast implant related cancer from faulty breast implants made by the now liquidated French company Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), and it is predicted there will be a peak in deaths in 2026.
  • In addition to the potential cancer risk, the victims have reported a range of mental and physical health issues, including extreme pain, inflammation, headaches, infections, anxiety and low energy.
  • However, there is resistance by the Government and Health Regulators to accept the cancer risk PIP implants are causing, and many women are unable to get them removed or seek legal compensation.
  • We urgently need health and treatment guidelines for PIP exposed women and children published, a full inquiry into the PIP scandal recall every individual who had an implant and offer them surgery.


Poly Implant Prothèse was once the third biggest supplier of breast implants in the world. Following reports of abnormally high rupture rates, it was found in 2010 that the manufacturer had been filling implants with sub-standard silicone gel that was not cleared for human use. The company went into liquidation in 2010 and its founder, Jean-Claude Mas was convicted of aggravated fraud and sentenced to four years in prison.

It marked one of the most noteworthy cases of medical negligence in recent history. 400,000 women from across the world were impacted including 47,000 British women.

Victims have reported a range of mental and physical health issues, including extreme pain, inflammation, headaches, infections, anxiety and low energy. Many women suffered for years before realising that their health issues were a direct result of their faulty implants.

PIP breast implants were withdrawn from the UK in 2010. The current view of the NHS and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is that there is no evidence to suggest that PIP implants pose a serious health risk, but they can cause unpleasant symptoms if they rupture.

Between 2011 and 2013, French and Swedish health authorities who conducted tests on the implants ordered the preventative removal of all PIP implants after the deaths of women with aggressive cancers caused by the devices – known as Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma – BIA-ALCL.

In October 2022, a conference was convened on lymphoma caused by implants. Data was presented at the conference that pointed towards a link between PIP implants and BIA-ALCL, and that deaths could peak as soon as 2026.

Government response so far

  • The Government’s initial response to the scandal in 2010 was to issue a medical device alert to all UK clinicians and cosmetic surgery providers, asking them to cease use of the implants
  • The NHS and MHRA maintain that there are minimal health risks posed by PIP implants and official advice is that if you have PIP implants, you should discuss with a surgeon whether they should be taken out.

Key campaign asks

  1. Publish health & treatment Guidelines for PIP exposed women & children
  2. Launch a full public inquiry into the government handling of the PIP implant scandal
  3. Continue to call upon the MHRA to investigate the cancer link further and change its guidance
  4. Recall everyone who had an implant and offer them free removal and replacement surgery, as offered by the Welsh Labour Government
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