Breast implant maker's founder arrested, police say - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Breast implant maker's founder arrested, police say

(Source: CNN) (Source: CNN)
(Source: CNN) (Source: CNN)

PARIS (CNN) - The founder of a French company that makes breast implants linked to a health scare was arrested Thursday, the French national police said.

Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) founder Jean-Claude Mas was detained in Six-Fours-les-Plages, near Toulon in southern France, police said.  

PIP director Claude Couty was arrested around the same time nearby in La Seyne-sur-Mer and investigators searched his home, according to CNN affiliate France 2. 

Mas was arrested in connection with an investigation into involuntary homicide and harm following the cancer death of a French woman with PIP implants in 2010, police in Marseille said. 

The probe was opened in December by prosecutors in Marseille. 

Marseille police and and public health officials are conducting the investigation, police said.

PIP implants have sparked health scares in the United States, Europe and South America. 

An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries received breast implants from the company. The implants were banned in 2010 and the company went bankrupt later that year. 

The implants are not approved for use in the United States.  French authorities announced last month that the government would pay for the removal of the bankrupt company's implants, which a British medical group says were made from "non-medical grade silicone believed by the manufacturers to be made for mattresses." 

German medical groups recommended this month that women seek removal of PIP breast implants, saying they need not hurry but the devices could pose eventual health problems. 

Authorities in France and England have dismissed fears of cancer from the implants, but have said the devices are prone to rupture and could cause inflammation, scarring and fibrosis.

More than 500 French women have had the implants removed since last year, according to the French government agency that evaluates the safety of medical products. Since then, more than 1,000 implants have ruptured, the agency said. 

The British government says there is still no statistical data to show that PIP implants are either toxic or more prone to rupturing than others.  

"Our advice remains the same that there is not sufficient evidence to recommend routine removal. We have always recommended that women who are concerned should speak to their surgeon or GP," British Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in a statement.  

"The (National Health Service) will support removal of PIP implants if, after this consultation, the patient still has concerns and with her doctor she decides that it is right to do so," he said.

"We believe that private healthcare providers have a moral duty to offer the same service to their patients that we will offer to NHS patients -- free information, consultations, scans and removal if necessary," Lansley said. 

CNN's Pierre Meilhan, Atika Shubert, Diana Magnay and Stefan Simons contributed to this report.  

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