Defective Breast Implant Design Caused Rare Lymphoma, Lawsuit Claims
A product liability lawsuit filed by an Iowa woman indicates she developed breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) due to problems with recalled Allergan Biocell breast implants, which featured a textured surface design that increase the risk of cancer developing in the surrounding tissue.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Ann Kurtz in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on March 6, indicating that the defective breast implant design was the direct cause of her rare lymphoma diagnosis.
Allergan was forced to issue a worldwide breast implant recall last year, removing all products from the market that featured the macrotextured design, after federal regulators in the United States determine nearly all reported cases of BIA-ALCL were linked to the design.
The breast implant cancer involves a type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma that may develop in the tissue surrounding the implant. As a result of the risk, dozens of women nationwide have filed claims against the manufacturer, alleging that they may have avoided a cancer diagnosis if the manufacturer had not intentionally covered up the problems and misled patients and the medical community.
“Had Allergan properly reported those adverse events, the FDA would have required it to add warnings to the label or otherwise disseminate the additional adverse event information to the implanting doctors at a minimum, and would have required the BIOCELL implants to be recalled sooner,” the lawsuit states. “This is confirmed by the FDA’s 2019 request that BIOCELL implants be recalled and removed from the market once Allergan disclosed the true causal association between the implants and BIA-ALCL.”
A growing number of lawsuits are also being by women who did not develop BIA-ALCL, but indicate that they either already had the implants removed or plan to, in order to protect their safety. At least six women filed claims last week in New Jersey state court indicating that Allergan should be required to pay for medical procedures, and breast implant replacements.
In the federal court system, at least 50 complaints over the breast implant cancer problems have been consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the District of New Jersey, where U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti is presiding over all pretrial proceedings to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the claims, avoid conflicting schedules and orders, and serve the convenience of common witnesses, parties and the judicial system.
As more women undergo procedures to have breast implants removed due to the cancer problems, or receive a diagnosis of BIA-ALCL, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to expand over the coming months.
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