Dow Corning could emerge from bankruptcy reorganization later this year, and silicone gel breast implant recipients could be seeing some money in 2005.
Attorney Geoffrey White—whose firm, White, Meany & Weatherall, represents 48 Nevada women—says he is dropping his appeal of Dow Corning's $3.2 billion settlement with implant recipients. "It simply became clear that the process would take too long for very sick women in Nevada and elsewhere to recover for their injuries,"White said in a news release.
It has been 12 years since FDA banned most sales of silicone gel breast implants and nine years since Dow Corning filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
However, a number of objections, from foreign claimants and a U.S. government claim now settled, also prevented a final resolution. White's appeal "was really the last major obstacle to the settlement," a Dow Corning spokeswoman says.
Dow Corning was at one time the largest implant maker and supplied silicone gel to other implant providers. Three of those providers—Baxter Healthcare, 3M, and Bristol-Myers Squibb—along with gel supplier Union Carbide, agreed to a separate settlement in 1995 worth about $2.5 billion.
"Is this settlement long overdue or what?"; asks Lynda Roth, president of the Coalition of Silicone Survivors, a support group for women. "Finally, the sickest women won't have to wait much longer to get some money."