Lawsuits Claim Allergan Covered Up Cancer Risk from Biocell Breast Implants

Women across the country who received Biocell breast implants are suing manufacturer Allergan over cancer and other problems they claim are due to the implants’ textured surface, or shell, which is a surface used exclusively by Allergan. Based on data gleaned from adverse event reports submitted on behalf of consumers worldwide, Allergan’s textured breast implants are linked to a significantly increased risk of a type of cancer known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and BIA-ALCL-related death. If you or someone you know has developed cancer or another serious side effect allegedly caused by Allergan Biocell breast implants, consult an experienced product liability lawyer as soon as possible to find out if you are eligible for compensation through a legal claim.

BIA-ALCL: Cancer of the Immune System

BIA-ALCL is not a type of breast cancer. It is a cancer of the immune system that can develop in the tissue surrounding breast implants, specifically implants with a textured surface. BIA-ALCL has been diagnosed in patients with both silicone and saline implants and in both breast cancer reconstruction and cosmetic patients. To date, there have not been any confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL involving only a smooth implant. Some common symptoms of BIA-ALCL include the following:

  • Pain
  • Breast enlargement
  • Asymmetry
  • Lump in the armpit or breast
  • Hardening of the breast
  • Overlying skin rash
  • Large fluid collection

Allergan Breast Implant Recall

Last year, Allergan was forced to issue a global Biocell breast implant recall after it was discovered that nearly all reported cases of BIA-ALCL involved Biocell implants with the company’s unique macro-textured design. In a safety communication issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last summer, the agency reported that it had received a total of 573 reports of BIA-ALCL tied to breast implants, including 33 patient deaths. Of the 573 BIA-ALCL cases, 481 were attributed to Allergan breast implants and of the 13 deaths occurring in patients with BIA-ALCL where the implant manufacturer was known, 12 involved patients implanted with an Allergan breast implant.

At the time of the breast implant recall, the FDA reported that “Based on the currently available information, including the newly submitted data, our analysis demonstrates that the risk of BIA-ALCL with Allergan BIOCELL textured implants is approximately 6 times the risk of BIA-ALCL with textured implants from other manufacturers marketing in the U.S.” Regulators also warned that “continued distribution of Allergan’s BIOCELL textured breast implants would likely cause serious, adverse health consequences and potentially death from BIA-ALCL.”

Lawsuits Over BIA-ALCL from Breast Implants

Amid growing concerns about the potential for breast implants to cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, dozens of women have filed claims against Allergan, alleging that they could have avoided developing cancer had they known about the risk associated with the manufacturer’s textured implants. There are also lawsuits being filed by women who did not develop BIA-ALCL, but either had their Allergan implants removed or plan to in the future, in order to avoid the risk of cancer. Last week, at least six women filed lawsuits in New Jersey state court indicating that Allergan should be made to pay for their breast implant replacements and medical procedures. According to allegations raised in the growing breast implant litigation, Allergan knew or should have known that the textured design of its Biocell breast implants could put women at risk for lymphoma and failed to warn consumers or the medical community about this risk.