Following on from the findings of the European Ombudswoman, the European Commission was told to ensure any new and emerging evidence on PIP implants was properly reviewed. Rather than conduct a review, the European Commission modified their Rules of Procedure so that an additional preliminary step should be taken before an actual review could take place, this was called a Call For Information. Two Calls for Information were proposed, one specifically for PIP implants and the second to address BIA-ALCL or breast implant cancer.
To make it especially difficult for PIP victims to participate with gathering and reporting evidence, the Call for Information of the newly formed SCHEER Scientific Committee requested only the full text editions of peer reviewed scientific papers to determine if there was any new evidence to warrant a review.
PIP Action Campaign collected more than seventy relevant scientific papers in the prescribed format and submitted them to the scientific committee by the deadline date in September 2016.
The decision of the SCHEER committee’s Call for Information was delayed until early 2017. Responsibility for both Calls for Information was in the process of being transferred: originally the Commission’s DG Sanco, the health and consumer directorate, to DG Grow the directorate for industry and enterprise and finally, to oversee both Calls for Information, the European Commission’s Health directorate DG Health finally took over. DG Health responded to questions concerning the delay with a Tweet which informed us, the reason for the delay: which they said was “more work was needed”.
PIP Action Campaign pressed the Health Directorate for a decision. Hundreds of thousands of women are potentially affected. These issues are a matter of public concern and the delays seemed to be missing the element of urgency the severity of the situation demands. For large numbers of women, particularly in the UK and Ireland, still have PIP and this is as a direct consequence of the authorities failing to recommend patients remove all leaking and ruptured PIP implants. Many thousands more women have texturised or polyurethane implants and have a higher risk of developing breast implant cancer according to experts.
European Commission published their findings: SCHEER determined neither Calls for Information warranted a review. They said although there is new evidence there is insufficient new evidence.