Breast implant scandal: judgment against TÜV Rheinland



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French court sentenced TÜV Rheinland in the breast implant scandal for neglecting the inspection and supervision obligations
15.11.2013

A French court sentenced TÜV Rheinland to pay damages in the scandal surrounding breast implants from the manufacturer PIP. According to the judges, the TÜV had not fulfilled its supervisory and control obligations. The cheap implants were used in thousands of women, which were filled with inferior, homemade gel instead of medical silicone. The implants should therefore develop cracks more easily and are associated with inflammation.

TÜV is said to have known early about inferior breast implants from the manufacturer PIP. In July of this year it became known that the TÜV Rheinland had known about the defects of the breast implants from the manufacturer PIP long before the scandal became known. At the time, the "Handelsblatt" reported a warning from the British health authority MDA that the TÜV was said to have been present. Although this did not affect the silicone cushions themselves, the experts questioned the biological safety of hydrogel implants from PIP. Internal reports are intended to document that the TÜV carried out a special inspection in February 2001 and no longer issued any certifications for the quality management of the hydrogel products from 2002. However, the TÜV refrained from carrying out registered controls. The quality management of the silicone implants was certified until 2010.

Now the commercial court in Toulon, France, has sentenced the TÜV for violations of its supervisory and control obligations. This is the first time that the German company has been blamed for the breast implant scandal. The TÜV announced that it would appeal. "The TÜV has strictly adhered to the applicable regulations," lawyer Cécile Derycke told the news agency "dpa". The company defended itself by declaring itself to have been the victim of fraud. The other side assessed the court's decision as a "courageous judgment", which "is an advance for all victims worldwide", reports the news agency.

TÜV to pay for "damage to importers and victims" Six dealers and around 1,600 women had sued. As the commercial court ruled, the TÜV was primarily liable for breaches of duty. Therefore, the company must now pay for "the damage to the importers and victims", the judges explained as the "dpa" reports.

The plaintiffs claimed a total of approximately EUR 53 million in damages. The court awarded 3,000 to women from South America in particular, but also from France and Great Britain. Your claim was 16,000 euros in damages.

In addition, criminal proceedings are currently underway in France against the former responsible managers of PIP. A judgment is expected in December. According to the indictment, PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas faces four years in prison and the co-accused between six months and two years. The public prosecutor also plans to enforce a fine of 100,000 euros for Mas, an employment ban in the medical and health sector and a ban on running a company. (ag)

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