PIP founder charged over breast implant scandal

The founder of the French company at the centre of a scandal over unsafe breast implants has been charged

French businessman Jean-Claude Mas was arrested early yesterday morning in relation to the global breast implant scandal that has left thousands of women at risk.

More than 400,000 women around the world are believed to have received implants by Poly Implant Prothese, which was shut down in 2012 after it was revealed to be using industrial-grade silicone gel in its implants.

During questioning, Mr Mas confirmed the implants were made with non-authorised silicone gel but rejected any suggestion that they posed a health risk.

In an earlier interview Mr Mas had already admitted: ‘I knew the gel wasn’t approved, but I did it knowingly because the PIP gel was cheaper and of much better quality’.

French officials say that 20 French women with PIP implants have been diagnosed with cancer (including 16 cases of breast cancer). However, a direct link has not been proven.

Seventy-two-year-old Mas, a former travelling salesman who entered the medical business by selling pharmaceuticals, founded PIP in 1991 to take advantage of the booming market for cosmetic implants.

The substandard gel is thought to be present in 75 per cent of PIP breast implants, saving the company around £1million euros (£836, 331) each year according to an ex-company executive.

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