- Associated Press - Friday, December 30, 2011

SAO PAULO (AP) - Faulty French-made PIP breast implants will be permanently banned in Latin America’s biggest country, Brazil’s Health Ministry said Friday.

The Health Ministry’s National Agency for Sanitary Vigilance said in a statement its decision is based on tests conducted in France showing that women who got the implants could experience harmful leaks of cheap, industrial-grade silicone, not the medical-grade gel that higher-quality implants use.

The statement said that sales of implants made by the now-defunct Poly Implant Prothese have been banned in Brazil since April 2010. The new decision makes that ban permanent.

The agency said that Brazil imported 34,631 of the implants and 24,534 were sold. The remaining implants will be destroyed.

“The government is not thinking of offering free surgeries to remove the PIP implants,” an agency official said. She declined to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to the press. “Women should seek their doctors’ advice on what their best options are,” she added.

France’s health system has recommended that women with the PIP implants get them replaced, and has agreed to pay for surgeries.

The president of Brazil’s Plastic Surgeons Association, Jose Horacio Aboudib, last week said: “I’d remove them from any patient that wants to, but I don’t see the need for everyone to go into surgery.”

“Here it is not considered a public health risk, and so the patient would have to pay for it,” Aboudib said.

Earlier tis week, Venezuela said it would offer free surgeries for women to remove the PIP implants and in Argentina a group of 50 women threatened to sue their plastic surgeons if they don’t get free replacements of the faulty implants.

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