The Valencian public prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation into whether the scandal involving faulty breast implants manufactured by French firm Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), which has affected thousands of women in Spain and around the world, could constitute a crime.
The inquiry, launched following a petition submitted by the association El Defensor del Paciente, will last six months and will determine if legal responsibility can be placed on any of the parties involved: PIP, the authorities who failed to detect the alleged fraud and doctors who inserted the implants. If it finds it can, the case will be forwarded to the courts.
Valencia is one of the regions where most PIP products were used. In its public hospitals alone, 650 women received the implants. The faulty prostheses, made from industrial rather than medical-grade silicone, and with three times more risk of breaking, were withdrawn in 2010 after an alert by French authorities.