French breast implant scare reaches around the world

Hundreds of thousands of women in more than 65 countries, mainly in South America and western Europe, have received breast implants that are at the centre of a health scare.

On December 23, France's advised 30,000 women with the implants produced by now-bankrupt French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) to have them removed as, while there is no proven , they could rupture dangerously. An unknown proportion of the implants are made with sub-standard gel.

Here is a summary of global reaction to the health scare:

--EUROPE--

- THE EUROPEAN UNION: On Thursday the executive European Commission proposed a joint evaluation system, involving sending questionnaires to women across the 27-nation bloc who have had the implants to help evaluate the risks.

- BELGIUM: Like France, on December 23, Belgium encouraged women with the implants to have them removed if they suspect any ruptures.

- BRITAIN: Around 42,000 British women are believed to have had the implants. The government has recommended medical monitoring, though said Friday there was no evidence to suggest women should have the implants removed.

Women who had implants on the (NHS) and had concerns can have them removed without charge.

In December, a lawyer said more than 250 British women would take court action after more than half experienced ruptures of the implants.

- CZECH REPUBLIC: The health ministry said on Friday that up to 2,000 Czech women who received the implants should have them removed.

- GERMANY: Health authorities on Friday recommended German women with PIP implants get them removed as "a precautionary measure."

- FINLAND, ITALY, THE NETHERLANDS, SPAIN and SWITZERLAND have urged women with the implants to seek medical monitoring.

--LATIN AMERICA--

- BOLIVIA and VENEZUELA say the defective implants can be removed for free.

- ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, CHILE, COLOMBIA and ECUADOR have banned the implants.

--ASIA-PACIFIC--

- AUSTRALIA: Health authorities said Thursday there is no evidence the implants pose an extra rupture risk and their contents had been found to be safe.

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