A group of women who have had their recalled Allergan textured breast implants removed are saying that the company is trying to trick them and others into releasing the company from liability. According to a report on MassDevice.com, Allergan sent a recall letter to patients offering to replace the textured implants with non-textured ones at no cost.
Asking Plaintiffs to Sign a Release
An emergency memorandum filed by the plaintiffs in New Jersey federal court as part of their class action against Allergan says that the company’s recall letters do not advise class members or their surgeons that they must sign a release to get the benefits of Allergan’s warranty coverage, inform them of the class action or of their rights to pursue additional claims for damages against Allergan. But, the women asked the court to order Allergan to stop asking women seeking reimbursement to release the company from liability and to prevent Allergan from using these releases to protect itself.
Allergan recalled its textured breast implants in July 2019 after the products were linked to Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked Allergan to recall its Biocell textured implants in July. Five months earlier, the company reported that it had received 457 unique cases of BIA-ALCL related to breast implants since 2010 including nine patient deaths.
Risk of Developing Cancer
BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer, but a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the immune system). In most cases, BIA-ALCL is found in the scar tissue and fluid near the implant. However, in some cases, it can spread throughout the body. The main symptoms of BIA-ALCL are persistent swelling, presence of a mass or pain in the area of the breast implant. These symptoms may occur well after the surgical incision has healed, often years after implant placement.
But, this cancer is serious and can lead to death, especially if it is not promptly diagnosed and treated. In most patients, it is treated by removing the implant and surrounding scar tissue. Many also require chemotherapy and radiation treatment. While Allergan set up a fund to reimburse victims for new implants, it does not offer to pay victims for the surgery and other treatment expenses relating to a cancer diagnosis.
Responsibility of Manufacturers
Allergan asking women who have developed cancer as a result of their dangerous and defective products to sign releases relieving them of liability is appalling. If you have developed BIA-ALCL as a result of Allergan textured breast implants, please do not sign any contracts or releases. Talk to an experienced product liability lawyer who can help you better understand your rights and help you avoid the pitfalls that might end up jeopardizing your potential product defect claim.