The government said Thursday it would pay for surgery on Brazilian women to remove defective French-made and Dutch-made breast implants.
The National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (ANVISA) said an estimated 12,500 Brazilian women had been fitted with French-made PIP implants and another 7,000 with Dutch-made Rofil implants.
"Patients with PIP or Rofil implants with rupture problems will be treated by the public (health) system, said ANVISA president Dirceu Barbano.
"The government understands that a ruptured implant implies reparatory surgery that can be done in the public system, like any reparatory surgery. If needed, the implant will be replaced," he added.
For those women who do not have problems with the implants, the government will provide periodic checkups, ANVISA said.
PIP, like Rofil which used the same material, was shut down and its products banned in April 2010 after it was revealed to have been using non-authorized, sub-standard silicone gel that caused abnormally high implant rupture rates.
Brazil this week will start listing women who have had implants and identify the type of gel used but the move is not linked to PIP and was decided two years ago, according to Jose Horacio Aboudib, the head of Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgeons.
About 1,000 South American women plan to sue the French firm PIP over the potentially faulty breast implants the company supplied to about 300,000 women across the world, their lawyer said Tuesday.
Lawyer Arie Alimi said about 500 Argentinian women and an equal number from Venezuela were planning to be civil plaintiffs in the probe by French police into PIP and its 72-year-old founder Jean-Claude Mas.
More than 450 lawsuits have been filed in three countries, and French police have placed PIP and Mas under investigation.
According to PIP's 2010 bankruptcy filing, it had exported 84 percent of its annual production of 100,000 implants.