Reuters reports France’s health minister, Xavier Bertrand, has called for the arrest of Jean-Claude Mas, the Founder and CEO of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), a French manufacturer of silicone breast implants. The Company is accused of selling defective prostheses in a scandal that may affect 300,000 women around the world.
Research indicates implants from PIP are prone to bursting, which can cause serious illness. France’s health ministry is so concerned, they’re urging removal of the 30,000 PIP implants purchased by French women and said public health funds will be used to pay for these emergency surgeries.
Mas, 72, has not been seen or heard from in public since news of the faulty implants first broke. PIP is being accused of using sub-standard industrial silicone in some of its implants, which were sold globally before being taken off the market in 2010. According to Reuters, Mas was initially questioned in November 2010, but has never appeared in court. He and several other PIP executives could be charged by a Marseilles criminal court for aggravated fraud.
International police agency Interpol has been issued a “red notice” for Mas, however it’s for an unrelated case — he was arrested in June 2010 for drunk driving, but left the country and did not sow up for a scheduled court date.
French health officials discovered last year that PIP was using a home-made version of silicone that was not approved by health authorities. Shortly thereafter, the company filed for bankruptcy and shut its doors. Further investigation found the unapproved gel had been used since 2001, as PIP executives chose a lower-cost option.
The company became a world leader in the silicone breast implant sector, producing upwards of 100,000 implants every year and distributed in 65 countries. Their largest markets were in South America where the implants were sold in Chile, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina.