BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s federal supreme court said on Thursday it had rejected a woman’s claim for certification agency TÜV Rheinland to pay compensation for approving faulty breast implants produced by manufacturer PIP until its 2010 closure.
Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), the French company at the center of the scandal, sold implants globally over almost two decades until investigators discovered it was passing off low-grade industrial silicone as a much pricier medical product.
The counterfeit substance was used in implants given to some 300,000 women. About one-quarter of those subsequently removed were found to have ruptured, regulators said, raising concerns over the long-term health effects of exposure to their contents.
Appealing to the supreme court after a lower court rejected her complaint, the plaintiff, who had implants fitted in 2008 and removed in 2012, argued that TÜV Rheinland had failed to fulfill its role as a certification agency.
Claiming 40,000 euros ($44,588) in compensation, she argued that spot inspections, examination of the manufacturer’s business documents and product tests would have resulted in a halt to the supply of the implants.
However, the court said European regulations meant the agency had “no general duty to carry out unannounced inspections, to examine products and/or to check the manufacturer’s business documents.”
“On this basis, the applicant’s appeal has not been successful,” the court said in a statement.
The ruling came after a French appeals court last month ordered TÜV Rheinland to pay 60 million euros immediately to 20,000 victims of the faulty breast implants produced by PIP prior to its closure.
It was not immediately clear whether the plaintiff in the German case was among the victims eligible for this compensation.
Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Gareth Jones