Supporting toxic breast implant victims in their fight for justice by Fleur Anderson MP

A constituent named Jan came into my surgery in Southfields Library in the summer of 2022. Jan told me that after suffering from cancer, she received reconstructive silicone breast implants, manufactured by a French company called Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP). 


She detailed how she has suffered from years of pain and how this is linked to medical negligence, failures by regulators, evasion of responsibility by private clinics and lack of action by Government. I was shocked to learn that doctors predict a peak in implant related cancer deaths in 2026 unless action is taken now.  


PIP was found to have been producing implants made from non-medical grade silicone that was not cleared as safe for use in the human body in 2010. The silicone used in the toxic implants was typically used to fill mattresses. Following these revelations, PIP went into liquidation and its founder, Jean-Claude Mas, was convicted of aggravated fraud and sentenced to four years in prison. 


It marked one of the most noteworthy cases of medical negligence in recent history. 400,000 women from across the world have had these implants, including 47,000 British women. Victims have reported a range of mental and physical health issues, including extreme pain, inflammation, headaches, infections, anxiety and low energy. Many women suffered for years before realising that their health issues were a direct result of their faulty implants. 


PIP breast implants were withdrawn from the UK in 2010. After several official reviews, a registry was set up in 2016 but this does not include women who had implants before this year. The current view of the NHS and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is that there is ‘no evidence to suggest that PIP implants pose a serious health risk’, but that they can cause unpleasant symptoms if they rupture.  


This stands in stark contrast to the testimonies that I have heard from PIP victims, who also believe that there may be a link between implants and the development of a rare cancer of the immune system called Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Campaigners are demanding further research into links between BIA-ALCL and implants and are demanding an inquiry to ensure the same medical scandal cannot ever happen again.  


Having now heard from so many women, it is very clear that this is blatant misogyny. If men had suffered en masse in this way, I think there would have been action a decade ago. Not only are there possible physical health dangers from the PIP implants, there have been significant mental health issues too. Women have felt gaslighted by GPs who would say that it was ‘all in their head’ or that it was just their age. Many have suffered in silence. 


After my initial conversation with Jan, I called a meeting in Parliament with her fellow PIP co-founders and campaigners, the families of women who were victims of the PIP scandal and medical experts. The evidence we heard was shocking. 


I was delighted to win the Adjournment Debate lottery and secure the first Parliamentary debate on this scandal. I outlined the horrendous experiences of the PIP victims and paid tribute to the tenacity, resilience and bravery of the women, including my constituent Jan, who along with her co-founders has fought relentlessly for justice whilst experiencing significant health problems.  


I made nine clear asks of the Government.  


Ultimately we need research into BIA-ALCL and a change to government website advice to include the known risks to many illnesses and cancers. There needs to be a full register for all women affected and for GPs, who should use this to proactively contact women with implants, give them a medical check-up and inform them about the risks. The implants themselves must come with full and thorough health warnings as they do in America, where they are labelled with FDA ‘black box’ labels.


The companies who wrongly sold these dangerous implants should be pursued for compensation. And finally, there must be a full and thorough inquiry into how this scandal happened, so that this cannot happen again. 


For additional information:

Please find the full Hansard entry for Fleur Anderson MP’s Adjournment Debate ‘Support for women with PIP breast implants’ here:  
Please find a video of Fleur’s speech online here: Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) Health Emergency Debate – Fleur Anderson MP 
Please find current Government information regarding BIA-ALCL and breast implants here:  
Please find here the website for the PIP action campaign:


Fleur Anderson MP

Fleur Anderson, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Putney, elected in 2019. A member of the Labour Party, she is the Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland.