Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1994

Dow Corning and the Breast Implant Controversy (A)

by Willis M. Emmons III, Monica Brand and Greg Keller

Abstract

In early 1994, Dow Corning Corp. debates whether to participate in a proposed $4.2 billion product liability settlement. Specifically, the firm must decide whether to contribute $2 billion to end a class action suit filed by women suffering from connective tissue diseases, autoimmune disorders, and other medical conditions, allegedly as a result of defective silicone breast implants. Although denying any impropriety, Dow Corning stands accused of intentionally withholding information on health risks associated with its implants over several decades.

Keywords: Safety; Ethics; Health Disorders; Government Legislation; Crime and Corruption; Legal Liability; Risk and Uncertainty; Business Strategy; Communication Strategy; Lawsuits and Litigation; Health Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry;

Citation:

Emmons, Willis M., III, Monica Brand, and Greg Keller. "Dow Corning and the Breast Implant Controversy (A)." Harvard Business School Case 795-047, November 1994.