National News

Class action considered against implants

The possibility of a class action lawsuit looms against the manufacturer of textured breast implants over their apparent links to a rare form of cancer.

Law firm Slater and Gordon has been approached by dozens of women with the implants who have been diagnosed with the rare cancer.

Slater and Gordon's Andrew Baker said a decision would be made on whether to proceed with a class action lawsuit in coming months based on the similarity of the women's cases.

They may instead be advised to pursue individual legal cases.

The class action would be against the manufacturers of the implants, Allergan Australia.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is weighing up whether to cancel, suspend or recall the implants after a review of the apparent association between anaplastic large cell lymphoma and some implants.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government supported the TGA's proposed action.

Some textured implants have been banned in France and Canada since April.

But Australia's peak body for cosmetic surgeons said there was "no cause for alarm", urging people with textured breast implants to consider all evidence before taking action.

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery said the risks of developing a cancer that spreads was extremely small.

"If patients do not have any symptoms, there is no need for any action because of this TGA announcement," the body said.

As of April, the TGA had received 76 reports of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants in Australian women.

The estimated risk of breast implant-associated lymphoma is between one in 1000 and one in 10,000.

But Mr Baker said the statistics were "cold comfort" for women who have been affected by the condition.

"If there is a risk that's known about a product like this, it needs to be disclosed to patients so they can make an informed choice about the products that are put into their bodies," Mr Baker told AAP.

He said the women who approached the law firm were not told about the possible risks of the product, so were not able to choose alternative implants.

Allergan Australia said it was reviewing the TGA action in relation to its Natrelle Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders, but that it stands behind its products.

The company said there was no recommendation from any health authority, including the TGA, for patients with no symptoms to have their textured breast implants removed or replaced as a preventive measure.

© AAP 2019