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Employees hid faulty implant production

Jan. 17, 2012 at 7:59 PM

MARSEILLES, France, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Employees of a French company say an honor code prevented them from speaking about the use of cheaper materials in the production of faulty breast implants.

Employees at breast implant manufacturer PIP told police fraudulent practices were well organized, and they were given very specific instructions on the disposal of cans of non-authorized silicone gel, French daily Liberation reported Monday.

The person in charge of quality control at PIP, whose name was reported only as Hannelore, told police PIP Manager Jean-Claude Mas worked with representatives of Tuv Rheinland, a global provider of safety services, to cover up fraud in advance of inspections.

"An audit is not about uncovering organized fraud," said Vincent Schuhl, managing director of the French branch of Tuv.

PIP did not order enough approved silicone to manufacture the 80,000 to 100,000 implants per year recorded on the books. The company did not order any quality silicone at all between December 2003 and October 2005, Liberation reported.

PIP was shut down in 2010 after it was found to be using cheaper, industrial-grade silicone gel, which health officials fear can result in implant ruptures. About 30,000 women have been advised by French health officials to have the implants removed, Radio France Internationale reported.

Mas is under investigation by Marseilles police for the alleged fraud.

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