Jean Claude Mas
- Category : Business-Entrepreneur
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (10,13,14,15)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 2
French businessman, in 1991 founder of Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP), a manufacturer of breast implants. PIP went into liquidation in 2011. The company and its founder are at the heart of a public-health care scandal.
Mas was a salesman, selling everything from life insurance to wine and dental equipment. He entered health care in the mid-1960s, working for a lab that was bought by Bristol-Myers in the 1970s, where he stayed until 1980 as a salesman. He then began working with a French plastic surgeon, Henri Gilbert Arion, who had made France’s first breast implant in 1965, and was now selling saline implants under the name Simaplast. It wasn’t a great start. Simaplast’s implants were found to be prone to rupture, according to a 1999 study by U.S. non-profit Institute of Medicine. Simaplast was renamed MAP - the precursor to PIP - where Mas said he performed every job from production to sweeping the floors. The small group of employees included Dominique Lucciardi, who became Mas’ common law wife and mother of his two children. In 1991, aged 52, Mas launched PIP, and chose as its headquarters the site of the old Simaplast factory (quoting Reuters).
The company produced circa 100 000 implants per year, during circa 20 years. Approximately 400 000 women worldwide may have PIP gel implant products implanted to enhance breast size or correct for tissue loss. The implants have been exported to Latin American countries such as Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina, Western European markets including Britain (25 000), Germany, Spain and Italy, as well as Australia (8900).
In 2001, PIP began to use unapproved in-house manufactured industrial-grade instead of medical-grade silicone in the majority of its implants. In 2003, the first signs of legal problems and financial losses can be traced by regulatory filings. Concerns surfaced in France first in 2009 when surgeons started reporting an abnormally high rupture rates. Which resulted in a flood of legal complaints and the company's bankruptcy. The French government recommended on 23 December 2011 that 30 000 women in France seek removal of breast implants made of a suspect silicone gel by the worldwide exporting PIP firm.
On 17 April 2013 the trial of 5 executives in begun in Marseille, France. Those charged are the company founder Mr Mas, who was booed in the court, his deputy Claude Couty, the quality director Hannelore Font, technical director Loic Gossart and products chief Thierry Brinon. They face up to 5 years in prison. The trial is expected to last until 17 May 2013.