Breast implant recipients to file class-action suit against Allergan

Song Soo-youn  Published 2019.08.19  16:05  Updated 2019.08.19 16:07


Koreans who received breast implants using Allergan’s specific product are to pursue a class-action lawsuit, as the health authorities recently confirmed the first case of rare cancer in a local patient who had Allergan’s implant.

Lincoln Law Firm is leading the suit. The law firm plans to gather people to join the lawsuit until Aug. 31 and file the first suit against Allergan, not Allergan Korea, for damage compensation in September.

The participants will be those who had Allergan’s BIOCELL textured implants.

Allergan’s Biocell textured breast implant, recalled due to its link to rare cancer

The U.S. had 152 cases of breast cancer patients developing implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) after using Allergan’s textured implants, Australia, 82, France, 59, and the U.K., 42.

In Korea, the first case of BIA-ALCL was reported on Friday. The patient was a female in her 40s who received breast augmentation surgery seven or eight years ago. She had severe swelling in one breast recently, visited a plastic surgery clinic, and was finally diagnosed with BIA-ALCL on Tuesday.

Lincoln Law Firm is recruiting participants of the lawsuit via an online community on the portal Naver. The community had 420 members as of Friday, and most of them confirmed their participation, the law firm said.

The number of people joining the suit will increase, as the law firm is receiving many inquiries about the lawsuit, it said.

People interested in the class-action suit include breast cancer patients who underwent breast reconstruction with Allergan’s recalled product.

According to Rep. Choi Do-ja of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, 13,336 breast cancer patients had breast implants with insurance coverage from April 2015 to June 2019. Among them, 5,763, or 43.2 percent, had Allergan’s implants. (Related article: Over 5,700 patients received Allergan’s breast implants linked to rare cancer)

“I was interested in the risk of breast implants, and victims of Allergan's breast implants have recently asked me to pursue a lawsuit,” Lee Seung-joon, a lawyer at Lincoln Law Firm, told Korea Biomedical Review. “I assumed there would be more victims and decided to pursue a class-action suit so that they can participate in it with a simple procedure and low cost and get compensation.”

One person asked about a damage compensation lawsuit, saying her mother received a breast reconstruction surgery due to breast cancer, Lee said.

Many people said to Lee that it took much time to prepare documents to prove their surgery.

“I will gather people until Aug. 31 and file a suit in September. If more people want to join the suit, we will file a secondary suit,” Lee said.

The first report of the local case of BIA-ALCL sparked fear among people who received Allergan’s implants. Victims opened an online café, “Committee for Countermeasures to Allergan’s Breast Implant Issue,” to share information.

Through postings on the bulletin board of the online community, people were asking whether they should remove Allergan’s implant through surgery and file a lawsuit against the firm for damage compensation.

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