Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Appeal court tosses class actions over jaw, breast implants

TORONTO — The Ontario Court of Appeal has tossed out a class action against the federal government by thousands of women whose silicone breast implants ruptured and leaked, as well as a separate class action by individuals whose jaw implants disintegrated.

Manufacturers – not government officials – were the ones responsible for the safety and reliability of both products, the court said in both instances. It said that shifting that responsibility to government would only serve to make future manufacturers show “decreased vigilance” about the safety of their products.

In the jaw implant case, thousands of people suffered a lifetime of intense, chronic pain. The plaintiffs argued that despite being told the implants could break down and “cannibalize” bone and soft tissue at the base of each victim's skull, Health Canada failed to issue warnings or take action to get the devices off the market.

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