Law firm Tindall Gask Bentley has advised Australian women with PIP breast implants that it will no longer continue its investigation into a class action.
Partner Tim White said the firm recently discovered that the proposed defendant, Medical Vision Australia Pty Ltd (in liquidation), had limited product liability insurance while distributing the implants in Australia, making the class action unviable.
“We are devastated for the thousands of women who have been impacted by the PIP implants scandal in Australia,” Mr White said.
“We have had a team working full-time on this matter since December 2011 and invested a huge amount of resources into exploring all available compensation avenues for the many women who have contacted us, but without adequate insurance a class action against the distributor is impossible.”
Medical Vision Australia Pty Ltd, which appointed Heard Phillips as liquidator last October, moved to limit its liability in late 2011 by creating two new companies, Medical Vision Australia Plastic and Cosmetic Pty Ltd and Medical Vision Cardiology and Thoracic Pty Ltd.
The companies operate out of South Australia.
Insurance documents confirmed that Medical Vision Australia Pty Ltd did not have product liability insurance for five of the eight years it was Australia’s sole distributor of PIP implants.
“It is disgraceful that a company was allowed to supply high risk medical devices to thousands of women without insurance,” Mr White said.
“The women certainly feel they have been let down and left exposed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for allowing the business to operate in this way and not picking up the problems with the implants earlier.
“As a further slap in the face, the distributor is still operating in the medical device industry today under a different name with no repercussions.”
While the class action has been ruled out, Tindall Gask Bentley will now investigate the possibility of pursuing other defendants.
“We maintain that the implants are clearly faulty, testing has confirmed that at the very least they are two to six times more likely to rupture than other brands, and affected women deserve to be compensated.”
Hundreds of thousands of women worldwide were supplied PIP implants containing unapproved silicone.
French businessman Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of PIP, is facing criminal charges with a trial starting next month.
Affected women: Lawyer Olla Kutieleh, (08) 8212 1077
Media: Communications Manager Andrew Montesi, (08) 8212 1077.