Breast Implant Crisis 'could have been prevented' says MEP - 2012-01-17
"This crisis with breast implants should not have happened, and we now have to work at a European level to stop it from happening again," leading campaigner and MEP Catherine Stihler said in Strasbourg today.
European legislation covering breast implants is being revised this year, and Labour MEP Linda McAvan is working with Catherine Stihler to address the current shortcomings.
Next week, Linda McAvan will use the opportunity to press the issue with the European Commission at the European Parliament's Environment Committee and ask "Given the European Commission's intention to review the legal framework on medical devices, are there deliberations ongoing on how the Commission should address possible shortcomings in the current legislation - as it needs to avoid future cases where breast implants do not meet established quality criteria?"
Catherine Stihler added "In 2003, I first got support from fellow MEPs to have a register that worked across Europe so that women would know who manufactured their implants, and I have been campaigning for it ever since.
"After this crisis, the Commission should now set up a register system straight away.
"Obviously, you cannot stop fraud, which is what has happened here, but if you had a register then all women would now know where their implant came from, and there would not be thousands of women worrying up and down the UK.
"This crisis is awful for the women who have received faulty implants, and it's also terrible for the very many women who are now left to worry.
"These private companies are walking away from their moral obligations. They may claim they don't have the resources and they will go broke if they help the women, but they were perfectly happy when they were raking in money from selling sub-standard, cheap implants to women.
"Andy Burnham, Labour's Health spokesperson, is quite right. He said he doesn’t think anyone is going to be shedding any tears about the Harley Medical Group. The company should look after its patients and if necessary to talk to the government - the NHS- about how they may repay costs over a longer period, " she concluded.
More than 9,000 women in the UK had the surgery last year.