The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will take up a motion to consolidate all federal product liability claims involving Allergan, Inc.’s Biocell textured breast implants during its December 5th hearing session in Austin, Texas.
According to a Hearing Session Order issued by the Panel on October 21st, there are currently five Allergan breast implant lawsuits pending in California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee federal courts. All of the class action complaints seek compensation for women who were implanted with Allergan’s Biocell textured breast implants, which were recalled earlier this year because of their link to a rare form of cancer called breast implant-associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Despite the recall, plaintiffs note that Allergan has not agreed to pay for removal surgery and associated medical expenses, or to cover the expenses associated with ongoing medical monitoring. They have asked the JPML to centralize their breast implant lawsuits before a single judge in either the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, or the U.S. District Court, District of California.
BIA-ALCL is a rare form of lymphoma that forms in the scar capsule surrounding breast implants. Symptoms typically include:
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) asked Allergan, Inc. to recall Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders after an analysis found that 84% of the 573 cases of BIA-ALCL reported worldwide involved those devices, as did 12 of the 13 deaths for which the implant manufacturer was known. The FDA determined that the risk of developing BIA-ALCL was six times higher with Allergan’s Biocell devices compared to textured implants from other manufacturers.
BIA-ALCL is very treatable when DETECTED EARLY, and usually requires removal of the breast implants and surrounding tissue. However, chemotherapy and radiation may be needed if the cancer has spread beyond the scar capsule.
According to the FDA, women with Biocell textured implants can allow the devices to remain in place, so long as they are not experiencing any symptoms of BIA-ALCL. However, all breast implant patients should continue regular follow-up care and report any changes to their doctor immediately, especially persistent pain or swelling in their breast.