A woman rests in a hospital gown and bed.

Fortune: Allergan BIA-ALCL lawsuit “suggests systemic failure”

Breast implant manufacturer Allergan faces national scrutiny amidst growing awareness of BIA-ALCL, a cancer of the lymph nodes. BIA-ALCL is specifically linked to certain types of silicone implants, particularly the ones Allergan manufactures. A recent article from Fortune magazine exposes the growing BIA-ALCL crisis, noting the increasing diagnoses and continued denial by Allergan. The article asserts that the BIA-ALCL crisis, and resulting lawsuits against Allergan, suggest “systemic failure in a global industry that [has] never put patient safety first.”

Fortune‘s article included statements from Calvin Parr, who witnessed the devastating effects of BIA-ALCL firsthand. Nine years ago, Mr. Parr’s wife Paulette received textured silicone Biocell implants manufactured by Allergan. In November 2018, Mrs. Parr was diagnosed with BIA-ALCL in connection with her implants. The cancer metastasized aggressively. In August 2019, less than a year later, Paulette Parr died from the disease.

Calvin Parr, represented by Nashville attorney David Randolph Smith, filed a suit against Allergan shortly after his wife’s death. The BIA-ALCL lawsuit claims that Allergan knew of the defects in its breast implants, as evidenced by numerous FDA warnings going back to 2011. The suit alleges that Allergan failed to conduct adequate testing, repair known defects, and warn patients of the deadly cancer risks associated with its implants.

The FDA finally demanded a recall of Allergan’s Biocell implants in July of last year. But for many patients, including Paulette Parr, the agency’s intervention came too late. Until the product recall, many patients trusted Allergan’s repeated assertions that the implants were safe. One device developers for Allergan insisted that “the prognosis is excellent” for women who develop BIA-ALCL.

The Fortune article notes that Allergan now offers to reimburse up to $7,500 in surgery costs and $1,000 in diagnostic testing to any woman who develops BIA-ALCL from its implants. Unfortunately, these funds barely scratch the surface of the long, costly treatments that give BIA-ALCL victims a chance at survival. Treatment for BIA-ALCL can cost between $200,000 to $300,000. These costs are often excluded from insurance coverage, as they result from an elective cosmetic procedure.

The medical bills alone are one of many reasons why many BIA-ALCL patients are filing lawsuits against Allergan. Other concerns, such as significant pain, suffering, and spouses’ loss of consortium, are harder to quantify but far more devastating.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL after receiving Allergan breast implants, call the Nashville medical device attorneys at David Randolph Smith for a free case evaluation.