French breast implant scare has ripples around the world

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Tens of thousands of women in more than 65 countries, mainly in South America and western Europe, have received breast implants produced by now bankrupt French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

Here is how the health scare surrounding the implants unfolded:

- March 30, 2010: PIP is shut down and its product banned after it was revealed to have been using non-authorised silicone gel that caused abnormally high rupture rates of its implants.

- December 20, 2011: Media reports emerge that French medical authorities will tell 30,000 women who received defective breast implants to have them removed after eight cases of cancer emerge.

- December 21: A lawyer says more than 250 British women are to take court action after more than half experienced ruptures in breast implants made by PIP.

- December 23: France's health ministry advises women with breast implants made by PIP to have them removed as, while there is no proven cancer risk, they could rupture dangerously.

- In Latin America, Brazil recommends that 25,000 women who received the implants get tested early to make sure the implants are viable.

In Europe, Belgian health authorities encourage women with breast implants made by PIP to have them removed if they suspect any ruptures, while Finland and Italy recommend monitoring.

- December 27: The US Food and Drug Administration says it warned the French firm of "serious" quality control violations involving saline implants in 2000.

- Venezuela's public health service will remove for free the French-made implants, Health Minister Eugenia Sader says.

- The Dutch health authorities say that the some 1,000 Dutch women who were given the implants should see their doctors.

© 2011 AFP

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