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FDA Recommends New Warnings for Breast Implants Alleged to Cause Cancer

On October 24, 2019, the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a draft guidance addressing textured breast implants that have been linked to breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (“BIA-ALCL”).”

Part of that guidance recommends a Black Box Warning, the most serious level of warning, in the device’s labeling to help ensure women receive and understand information regarding the serious risks of textured breast implants. Part of that warning should include:

  • breast implants are not lifetime devices;

  • the chances of developing complications increase the longer a patient has the implant, and additional surgery may be required to address the complications; and

  • breast implants have been associated with the risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and may be associated with systemic symptoms (like fatigue or joint pain).

Additionally, the draft guidance recommends that textured breast implant manufacturers include a patient decision checklist at the end of a patient informational booklet or brochure. A patient decision checklist gives patients the opportunity to acknowledge individual risks of textured breast implants and can be used to help guide discussion during a patient’s consultation with a surgeon. The proposed checklist specifically addresses the risk of BIA-ALCL.

Finally, the FDA confirmed that it is coordinating with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgeons Foundation, to develop the Patient Registry and Outcomes for Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma Etiology and Epidemiology, which collects data from patients with a confirmed diagnosis of BIA-ALCL. The FDA contends that this will contribute to a better understanding of textured breast implants and BIA-ALCL, as well as improve FDA communication updates to the public regarding textured breast implants and BIA-ALCL.



About this Author

Martin P. Schrama, Stark Law, Intellectual Property and Litigation Law Attorney

Martin P. Schrama is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark's Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort, Intellectual Property and Green Litigation Groups. Mr. Schrama has extensive experience litigating on both the trial and appellate levels of the federal and state courts of New Jersey and New York, as well as numerous other jurisdictions throughout the nation in a pro hac vice capacity. This experience also extends to regular practice before AAA, JAMS and various other alternate dispute resolution fora.

The primary focus of Mr. Schrama’s practice is...

Stefanie Colella Walsh, Pharmaceutical Litigation Attorney, Stark Law Firm

Stefanie Colella-Walsh is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Litigation, Insurance Coverage & Liability, Intellectual Property and Mass Torts Groups where she concentrates her practice in complex litigation with a focus in mass tort and pharmaceutical litigation. She also handles litigation related to nursing home negligence and abuse claims, elder abuse, and assisted living facility litigation.

Recently, Ms. Colella-Walsh was a member of the national trial team involved the first trial in the country of a TVT-Secur transvaginal mesh device case against Ethicon/Johnson and Johnson.