Possible class-action suit to launch in B.C. over breast implants linked to cancer

Hundreds of women have joined a potential class-action lawsuit in B.C. aimed at the makers of a textured breast implant that has been linked to a rare form of cancer.

Sarah Lovey is one of thousands of women who have the implants and says she’s having them taken out next month — at a cost of $9,200.

“I’d rather not be having surgery, but at the same time, there’s no way — it’s non-negotiable for me. I really want to have them removed,” she said.

“I don’t have any symptoms of cancer. I don’t want to wait until I have a symptom to remove these.”

Health Canada suspended licences for Allergan’s Biocell macro-textured breast implants in May.

The agency said there have been 26 confirmed cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, of which 22 reportedly involve Allergan’s Biocell product.

Now, Vancouver-based law firm Rice Harbut Elliott (RHE) is filing a suit in B.C. Supreme Court and says hundreds of women — including Lovey — have already signed on.

“The textured implants that are especially at the centre of this litigation were extensively marketed as a better product, a product that created a better feel with lower risks,” said RHE trial lawyer Anthony Leoni.

“The class action is seeking compensation for women who received these implants and, afterwards, either developed serious health issues or have become concerned of the risks of even more serious health issues, including cancer.”

The suit has not yet been certified as a class action in B.C.

Lovey said that for her, the suit is less about the compensation and more about warning women and sending a message to implant makers that customers won’t stand for what she claims is negligent behaviour.

“The more women that join this class-action lawsuit the better because we need numbers; we need women basically saying: ‘This is not OK,’” Lovey said.

Global News has requested comment from Allergan on the potential class-action suit.

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