Brazil bans sale of Dutch co's breast implants

(AP) -- The sale of Dutch-branded breast implants made by a French company at the center of an international scandal has been banned in Latin America's biggest country, Brazil's health ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry's National Agency for Sanitary Vigilance said in a statement that the banned implants were sold by Rofil Medical Nederland BV.

The agency later announced that the government will pay for the removal of ruptured implants sold by Rofil and France's now-defunct Poly Implant Prothese company.

The agency said that so far it knows of 39 women who are entitled to the have their implants removed free of charge.

Brazil and many other nations already have banned implants from the PIP company that were made with cheap, industrial-grade silicone instead of medical-grade gel. The agency said Rofil had outsourced the production of its implants to PIP.

"The government will only pay for the removal of ruptured implants," an agency official said by telephone. "We are not offering free preventive ." He declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The agency says it did not know how many Rofil implants were imported and sold in Brazil.

In late December the agency said Brazil imported 34,631 implants made by PIP and that 24,534 of them had been sold.

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