Europe Weighs Tougher Breast Implant Scrutiny

Police say France’s PIP put industrial gel in 400,000 devices
A demonstration at the PIP plant last April Photograph by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

Investigators say French medical device maker Poly Implant Prothèse in the 2000s developed a simple way to pass the required annual inspections of its manufacturing process for breast implants. To keep its outside auditors from discovering that PIP was filling implant casings with cheap, industrial-grade gel to shave costs, workers hid barrels of the unauthorized substitute for medical silicone in a separate warehouse and on a truck during the auditors’ visits, former employees told French police according to transcripts obtained by Bloomberg News. One employee told police he was asked to erase evidence of the unapproved substances from the computer system before the audits and to reintegrate the data afterwards. Each year after the auditors left, another former PIP employee told police, workers celebrated with a round of drinks toasting another successful deception.

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