SURGEONS and politicians are demanding the immediate withdrawal of mesh implants made with Chinese plastic.
The calls come following claims that polypropylene resin, sourced by medical manufacturer Boston Scientific (BSc) from China and made into permanent implants, could degrade within months.
One of the world’s top plastics experts, Duane Priddy, told US television current affairs programme 60 Minutes, that implants made of the material could only “last months” instead of up to 40 years.
He was backed by US surgeon Michael Margolis who said implants made by Boston Scientific had shrunk inside patients’ bodies by “up to 50%”.
Yesterday, consultant Wael Agur, who advised the Scottish Government’s mesh safety review, said devices made after 2012 which contain Chinese sourced resin should be withdrawn immediately.
The surgeon, who has given evidence across the world on the injuries caused by mesh implants, said: “We already know mesh procedures are too risky. According to these experts, they are even riskier when the ingredients have been sourced in China.
“Boston Scientific mesh should be removed from our hospitals.”
MSP Neil Findlay said: “Serious allegations have been made yet again regarding the knowing use of mesh which appears to erode after just a few months.
“I raised concerns about counterfeit mesh allegations in September 2016 and the Cabinet Secretary for Health, the medical watchdog the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Police Scotland showed little interest in the evidence.”
After their original supplier stopped selling the petrochemical by-product for human use, BSc, which makes mesh implants to treat bladder problems and pelvic organ prolapse, found a new supplier in China, buying enough raw material to last 30 years. The company have repeatedly denied allegations their Chinese-sourced resin is counterfeit.
Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw said: “Shona Robison was warned in 2016. Her response then was complacent and to hide behind assurances from the discredited MHRA and, unbelievably, from the company itself.”
Former Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “What the experts on that programme told us was chilling.”
The politician has cross-party support over his call for Scotland to stage an international conference on the scandal which has seen pay-outs in the US of more than £3 billion and around 100,000 legal cases.
Boston Scientific, which faces almost 48,000 US court cases, was ordered to pay one woman, Martha Salazar, £60 million in Delaware in 2015, later capped by Texas law, over their Obtryx implant which was used in Scottish hospitals.
BSc said allegations regarding counterfeit material were false and irresponsible.
The firm said: “These allegations have been reviewed by the US and European regulators. Our products meet rigorous internal safety standards as well as International Standards.”
BSc insist its products have undergone extensive testing.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Were the MHRA to issue a safety alert in relation to these products, health boards would, of course, be required to act on it.”
The MHRA say there is “no evidence” of counterfeit material or safety issues.