Dow Corning Corporation announced yesterday that it was quitting the silicone breast implant business. It said it would set up a $10 million implant-safety research fund and help pay for implant removals for some women.
Dow Corning chairman Keith McKennon said the company will provide up to $1,200 per patient to help pay for the medical costs of removing implants for women whose doctors advise they should be removed but cannot afford the surgery.
Mr. McKennon said the decision not to resume implant production or sales was not based on questions of safety.
The company had been the industry leader but sales were expected to drop sharply due to a recommendation by a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that silicone implants be restricted only to women who participate in research on their safety.
Dow Corning is a joint venture of Dow Chemical Company and Corning Inc. The company has maintained that silicone implants were a small portion of its total business.