|Jean-Claude Mas was arrested and|
could face manslaughter charges
The ex-chief executive of a French company that was a world-leading manufacturer of breast implants has been arrested and could face charges of manslaughter in the wake of an international health scandal.
Jean-Claude Mas, founder of Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP), was arrested early Thursday by French police at his home in southern France. Mas will be held for 48 hours while investigators determine whether they can charge him with involuntary manslaughter and causing injury, police sources told Reuters.
Between 400,000 and 500,000 women around the world are estimated to have received implants made by PIP, which was shut down in 2010 after regulators discovered it was using substandard industrial grade silicon as a cost-saving measure.
Mas, speaking out for the first time in December, admitted to using the lower grade silicon, but denied they posed any potential health risks.
WHO weighs in
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a note on its website last week encouraging recipients of PIP implants to follow the health advice of their national health organizations.
"While the rupture rate of PIP prostheses was higher than expected in France, other national authorities reported varying rates," the statement said on the WHO website.
France, Germany and the Czech Republic have all recommended that the implants be removed. The UK's National Health Service has announced that it does not think the implants must be removed, but allowed that concerned women could still do so.
"The NHS will support removal of PIP implants if the patient has concerns and, with her doctor, she decides that it is right to do so," NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh wrote on its website.
According to various national estimates some 42,000 women in Britain, more than 30,000 in France, 25,000 Brazilians, 9,000 Australians and 4,000 Italians received the implants.
In France, some 2,700 women have filed complaints against Mas, according to Reuters.
Author: Stuart Tiffen