The long and colorful Poly Implant Prothèse saga is slowly drawing to a close, as prosecutors are asking for a four-year jail sentence and $128,000 fine for the CEO who presided over the sale of faulty breast implants to thousands of women.
In closing statements Tuesday, attorneys representing 5,127 wronged patients argued that Jean-Claude Mas and his company passed off industrial-grade silicone as safe for patient use, leading to at least 4,000 breast implant ruptures in the EU and Latin America, the Telegraph reports. The defense is scheduled to make its final statements today.
The prosecution is also asking the court to ban Mas from ever again working in medicine or running a company, according to the newspaper, and attorneys are seeking prison terms between 6 months and two years for the other 5 ex-PIP execs on trial.
Mas has admitted to using non-medical-grade silicone in implants but maintains that the practice was safe, doing himself few favors in the eyes of plaintiffs in dismissing them as "fragile people, or people who are doing this for money," the Telegraph notes.
The month-long court proceedings have taken a turn for the theatrical, as defendants were greeted by hisses and jeers from a crowd of 310 jilted patients packed into a Marseille courthouse. But, as the trial nears its end, the greater impact will almost certainly be on how the EU regulates medical devices from here on out.
Since the PIP scandal came to light in 2011, EU lawmakers and watchdogs have repeatedly called for reforms in the continental government's device monitoring, pointing out that patchwork enforcement across multiple countries is in part to blame for so many substandard implants making their way into patients.
Activists are calling for the EU to create a single regulatory body to handle approval for high- or medium-risk devices, ditching the current system of relying on independent "notified bodies" across the continent. However, many in the medical device industry warn that slowing down the CE mark process could have deleterious effects on the European med tech market, halting the advancement of necessary technologies.
- read the Telegraph story