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Success for women affected by PIP implants in recent French Court ruling

On 20th May 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal ruled that TUV Rheinland, a German safety body, negligently awarded safety certificates for PIP implants and is liable for the injuries these implants have caused.

PIP breast implants first hit the headlines in 2010 when it emerged that the implants were filled with cheap, industrial-grade silicone which was not cleared for human use. It has been shown that they have a higher rupture rate than other implants. Up to 400,000 women worldwide are estimated to have received the implants, in as many as 65 countries. It is estimated that 47,000 women in the UK are affected.

These implants were manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) between 2001 and 2010, but the company went into liquidation following the scandal. Compensation has instead been sought from a company that issued the European safety certificates for the PIP implants, the German company TUV Rheinland (“TUV”).

TUV face a number of claims with regards to the PIP implants worldwide. The Paris Court of Appeal ruling on 20th May 2021 was in the case TUV1, which was the first to be brought against TUV in the French courts, on behalf of 2,700 individuals including 540 British women, and began a decade ago. The appeals court held that TUV was negligent in awarding the safety certificates for the PIP implants and that those affected by the implants should receive compensation. The first ruling on compensation is expected in September.

This not only represents a long-fought victory for the individuals involved, but could have implications for thousands of others worldwide. However, TUV had previously maintained its denial of any wrongdoing and it is unclear whether it intends to appeal this decision; the battle on liability may not be over yet.


Lara Knight

10 June 2021

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