Approximately 30 lawsuits filed against healthcare goods manufacturer Allergan will be consolidated into a single multidistrict litigation. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits made the request to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation over their claims that the company’s breast implant products are responsible for their development or potential development of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL.
The extraordinarily rare cancer first became evident in European markets when patients who had been implanted with textured implants began showing symptoms. Textured breast implants differ from the smooth-surfaced implants predominantly used in the United States by being rougher to the touch. The textured surface was thought to contribute to better anchoring of the implant to keep it in place and prevent shaping issues.
That texture was in fact discovered to be responsible for causing abrasion to the surrounding tissue. This constant abrasion was, in rare cases, causing abnormalities which would in turn lead to the development of the cancer. Regulators and industry experts were quick to place the blame solely on textured implants; however, it wasn’t long before studies started showing links between smooth breast implants and BIA-ALCL as well. Women who had been told for decades that their implants were safe were now being told to monitor their breasts for abnormalities and to consult with physicians over the safety of the implants they’d had in place for years.
The plaintiffs in the new MDL claim that Allergan, while having seen fit to recall its Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders, is leaving women to foot the bill for implant removal and/or extra monitoring. They have essentially stated that their product is not fit for sale while simultaneously leaving women who have already purchased them out in the cold.