Breast implant safety fears spread

FEARS over the safety of silicone breast implants made by a now defunct French firm spread to Australia, South America and across Europe, as French officials prepared to decide if thousands of women should have their implants surgically removed.

The silicone gel implants, made by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) which was shut down in 2010, appear to have an unusually high rupture rate and have sparked an investigation in France into possible links to cancer.

Some 300,000 PIP

implants, which are used in cosmetic surgery to enhance breast size or replace lost breast tissue, were sold worldwide before PIP went bust.

“It’s not just France that’s concerned. We’re looking at 300,000 to 400,000 potential victims in the world,” said Alexandra Blachere, the leader of a French PIP implant patient group.

She said women from Italy and Spain had been in touch with her with worries about their implants, and she’d seen reports of problems in Venezuela, Brazil and elsewhere.

Britain’s drugs watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said there was no reason for patients to be alarmed and there was, as yet, no scientific evidence to suggest increased health risks.

MHRA officials said they had talked to health or regulatory experts from France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Denmark and Malta.

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