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Korean patient with rare breast cancer to sue Allergan in US
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2019.12.04 14:49
  • Updated 2019.12.04 14:49
  • comments 0

A Korean patient who developed rare cancer after receiving Allergan’s specific type of textured breast implant will sue the manufacturer and its management in the U.S., a law firm said.

The female patient in her 40s received breast augmentation surgery seven years ago. She had severe swelling in one breast recently and visited a plastic surgery clinic. After she was moved to a university hospital, she was diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) on Aug. 13. She was the first case of BIA-ALCL in Korea. (Related news: Rare cancer reported in Korea regarding Allergan’s breast implant)

Lee Seung-joon, a lawyer at Tae Il Law, said Wednesday he was representing her to pursue a lawsuit against Allergan’s headquarters and management with a U.S. court. Lee is also leading a class-action suit, representing 1,153 victims of Allergan’s breast implants, to seek 50 billion won ($41.8 million) compensation.

According to Lee, the patient with BIA-ALCL was at stage 2, receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She suffered from skin rashes, headaches, and body aches for several months but did not have particular symptoms around her breast. Then, she had to visit a hospital as her breast suddenly swelled severely, and was confirmed with BIA-ALCL.

“Unlike the claims by Allergan or the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, BIA-ALCL is a very dangerous disease that is not easy to detect or prevent early through regular checkups, unless the patient gets a breast implant removal,” Lee said. He said he got contacts almost every day from victims who were suffering from pain without knowing the cause of serious illnesses. The victims belatedly found out about the Allergan issue and decided to join the class-action suit later, he said.

Allergan, a multinational pharmaceutical giant, did not sell many textured breast implants in the U.S. due to the risk of BIA-ALCL, but aggressively sold them in Korea starting from 2014, causing scores of thousands of victims, Lee argued.

“Victims, including the patient with confirmed BIA-ALCL, are in the process of filing a lawsuit for damages directly with a U.S. court,” he said.

After the recall of textured breast implants, Allergan announced ineffective compensation policy, Lee went on to say.

Although the company added measures to support about 4 million won ($3,350) in case of rupture without an official announcement, it had a condition that the financial support would give immunity to Allergan. Thus, few victims accepted the offer, Lee said

“The victims were filing a lawsuit with a U.S. court to seek proper compensation based on precedents,” he added.


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