French court determines Germany′s TÜV ′not at fault′ for faulty breast implants | News | DW | 02.07.2015

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French court determines Germany's TÜV 'not at fault' for faulty breast implants

A French appeals court has determined German safety standards body TÜV "fulfilled its obligations" when certifying breast implants. The implants, found to contain substandard silicon, caused a worldwide scare.

The ruling Thursday overturns a 2013 decision by a lower court which determined TÜV was liable and ordered them to pay millions of euros in compensation to victims and distributors.

TÜV stated that the implants, made by French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), met stringent safety requirements, despite being found to contain substandard industrial-grade silicone gel.

The German-based certification company maintains its job was not to test the actual implants as they were only tasked with inspecting the manufacturing process.

The appeals court, based in the southern city of Toulon, ruled that TÜV and its French arm had "fulfilled the obligations incumbent upon them as a certifying body [and] committed no error engaging their criminal responsibility."

Six regional distributors from Bulgaria, Brazil, Italy, Syria, Mexico and Romania and close to 1,700 women sued TÜV for damages.

The German body was ordered by the lower French court to pay the women 3,000 euros ($3,300) each while waiting for personal or financial assessments to be made for each plaintiff. TÜV paid 5.8 million euros in compensation.

"They will technically have to pay back this money but no decision has been taken on a request for reimbursement," an unnamed source close to the safety body told the AFP news agency.

In 2010, after doctors noticed abnormally high rates of implants rupturing, it was revealed that PIP used cheap, low-grade silicon that was not medically safe. More than 500,000 women are believed to have received the faulty implants across 65 countries.

PIP, the world's third-largest silicone producer, was forced to close in 2010 after the scandal came to light.

jlw/kms (AFP, dpa, AP)

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