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PIP Breast Implants Victims Appear at Court in France

Update Date: Apr 17, 2013 08:13 PM EDT

Executives of a company in France, charged with producing faulty breast implants, appeared in court as the fraud trial got underway.

Jean-Claude Mas, 73, PIP founder and four associates are accused of using cheap industrial silicone to fill tens of thousands of implants that were sold to more than 60 countries around world.

The implants, which officials say are prone to rupture and leaking, were not sold in the United States, but more than 125,000 women worldwide received them until sales ended in March 2010. Of those, more than 5,000 are joining the trial, saying the executives misled them into believing the implants were safe.

Action was taken against the company after some women's implants ruptured, leading to a health scare. The trial in Marseille, France involves 5,000 women plaintiffs and is expected to last until 14 May.

The French government recommended removal of the implants due to an abnormally high rupture rate. Half of French women with PIP implants, 15,000 people, have already opted for removal, either because of rupture or as a precaution.

Nathalie De Michel, who received the implants, said Wednesday she wanted Mas to acknowledge responsibility, according to the Associated Press.

"We have the impression that he doesn't care. I want him at least to recognize that he made mistakes. When you fight against cancer, you fight to survive, and if after they put some garbage in your body, what's the point of fighting for life?"

Most of the faulty implants were for cosmetic reasons. The rest were for breast reconstruction, often following cancer surgery. Within France, about a quarter of the implants malfunctioned, most by rupturing and leaking silicone, according to a government tally released earlier this month.

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