Allergan agreed to provide full compensation for the medical expenses of patients who are diagnosed with implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) after using Allergan’s textured implants.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said on Monday that the regulator and Allergan came up with a compensation plan for people who received the company’s textured implants.
The compensations will be different depending on the types of patients – patients diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, those with suspected BIA-ALCL symptoms, and those who wish to remove the breast implant to prevent rare cancer.
The national health insurance will cover those confirmed with BIA-ALCL, and Allergan will support up to $7,500 (about 9 million won) for the patient’s contribution or non-reimbursable treatment.
The company will also replace the breast implant with Natrelle Silicone Gel Smooth Type for free for a lifetime.
If a patient has suspected BIA-ALCL symptoms and needs a diagnosis, Allergan will provide up to $1,000 support for pathology and ultrasound tests per session.
Pathology tests for diagnosing BIA-ALCL include CD30, ALK, and cytological tests. If a patient undergoes one or more of these tests, the company will provide the money.
Patients without suspected BIA-ALCL symptoms who want to replace the breast implant can receive Allergan’s smooth surface breast implant for free.
The free offer will be available for two years from July 25, 2019 (the date of the decision on recall). Just like in other countries, Allergan will not compensate the fee for implant removal surgery when replacing the old implant with a smooth one for free, or no-symptom regular test.
To get compensation from Allergan, the patient with the breast implant should receive a medical checkup, prepare the medical records, and apply for the compensation by sending an e-mail or mail to the company.
The details are provided on the homepage of Allergan Korea at www.allergan.co.kr. Patients can also call the company’s customer service center at 02-3019-4400.
However, a law firm leading a class-action suit on behalf of breast implant recipients against Allergan said the compensation plan was disappointing because the full compensation was for patients with BIA-ALCL only.
Lee Seung-joon, a lawyer at Tae Il Law, who is pursuing the suit representing 1,153 breast implant recipients, said, “As I had predicted, the compensation plan does not include insertion surgery fee, restoration surgery cost, and solatium as requested in the class-action suit.”
The class-action suit was the only way for breast implant recipients to get legitimate and appropriate compensation, he added.
Oh Kims, another law firm preparing a class-action lawsuit, also sharply criticized the compensation plan and called it “a trick.”
“Compensation and reparation are different. Compensation is to reimburse the loss if a lawful act causes it, and reparation is to repay if the damage is caused by an illegal act,” Oh Kims said. “Replacing reparation with compensation for damages caused by product problems is like deceiving the public.”
For the patient with BIA-ALCL who had a clear causal relationship with Allergan’s product, the company should compensate for the damage up to three times, under the product liability law, the law firm went on to say.
“We can see clearly that both Allergan, which calls this a compensation plan, and the food and drug safety ministry, which just copied what Allergan said and announced it as it were its achievement, are trying to deceive us,” it said.
Oh Kims has been recruiting the plaintiffs through a website called “Angry People” at www.angrypeople.co.kr since Aug. 26.