Montreal law firm requests class action suit over textured breast implants
A Montreal law firm has requested to file a class action lawsuit against three manufacturers of textured breast implants.
The implants have been the subject of safety recalls in Europe over concerns there may be a link between textured implants and a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
The law firm names Allergan, Mentor Worldwide and Ideal Implant in the lawsuit, claiming they are responsible for warning customers of the potential health risks.
“Health risks are obviously important facts that must be disclosed,” said Joey Zukran, a lawyer at LPC Avocats. “Whether they knew or didn't know is irrelevant under Quebec law. They're presumed to be aware as manufacturers of the risks and dangers associated to the product that they make and put on the market and sell.”
If the class action is approved, the plaintiffs are asking for roughly $57,000 each for costs associated with removing the implants as well as moral and punitive damages.
Karen Malkin-Lazarovitz would become one of those plaintiffs.
Ten years ago, she learned she had a genetic mutation that puts her at high risk of developing breast cancer.
She opted to have her breasts removed and then received textured breast implants.
“Implants for me had been proven to be healthy,” she said. “I'd done my research, and it was the lesser of all evils to just go with breast implants.”
Now Malkin-Lazarovitz is angry she was put at risk.
“That first instant is panic because you think ‘I did everything I could to prevent cancer.’ I removed my healthy breasts only to put in implants that could be toxic,” she said.
The implants have been recalled in several countries including France but they continue to be sold in Canada.
“Is a woman's body in Paris or in London any different from a woman's body here? The answer is obviously no,” said Zukran.
In December, Health Canada said it was stepping up its supervision of medical devices, including breast implants.
“Health Canada has been proactive in informing patients and their surgeons about the risks associated with breast implants. Health Canada has asked manufacturers to update their product labelling with information regarding the risks of BIA-ALCL and has published information on its website to better inform patients,” Health Canada said in a statement, adding that it is “participating in a European Commission Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks to study the potential association between breast implants and ALCL.”
- Read Health Canada's Action Plan for medical devices.
Malkin-Lazarovitz wonders why more isn't being done.
“Even if it's a minimal chance that you can get sick, if they know it, if they're aware of it, why are they allowing them to still be sold?”
A judge will determine if the case merits a class-action lawsuit before it can proceed.