PIP Implant Scandal Spurs Some UK Clinics to Cash In

Princess 19 on 3 Jan 2012 at 4:30pm

The PIP medical scandal has prompted some UK clinics to take advantage of potential victims - by charging fees just to find out if implants were made by the now-defunct manufacturer. 

Despite the growing fears that many women may possibly be carrying ticking time bombs in their bodies, the Daily Mail reports that some private clinics in the UK are making money off the medical scare. 

Patients are being asked to pay $80 fees for access to their medical records and another $15 to actually read the records.  That's about $100 dollars a victim just to see if they might have the Poly Implant Prothese-brand breast implants.  This is even more startling since various countries like France have already announced full payment to surgically remove defective implants from victims, regardless of symptoms.

But, is charging to inquire one's medical records in the UK legal?

According to various UK surgeons, the Data Protection Act allows these fees to be charged.  If a patient becomes a victim (one that suffers from the defective implant and plans to sue for the suffering), the money can be recouped.  If the patient has a PIP implant, does not suffer and does not sue, they cannot recover the fees.

It does not sound even remotely legal or fair.  But unfortunately, it is. 

Despite some patients actually paying the fees, some clinics have still taken their time and waited weeks to release information.

There is added pressure to these private clinics to waive the fee.  But, not all have complied to this request. 

PIP Implants

According to Dr. Simon Withey of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, "Every surgeon or surgical company has an obligation to keep these records and be able to inform women. This is data that any patient has every right to know and I would be horrified to find out that there is a charge."

At 300,000 potential victims and counting, one would hope these clinics would be more than happy to help for free, and not add to the growing worry of this unfortunate global medical scare.  

Photo credit:  stevendepolo on Flickr;  Reuters