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Colombia will pay for PIP breast implant removal

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will pay for the removal of breast implants made by a bankrupt French company that were linked to a global health scare, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The implants were manufactured by the now defunct Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) and appear to have had an unusually high rupture rate, prompting the authorities in France to urge women to have them removed.

Colombia's Health Ministry said the state would pay for removal of the implants if a doctor recommended it or if they ruptured and there was a medical emergency.

Implants for cosmetic reasons also would be removed at a doctor's recommendation, it said.

France ordered PIP, which was once the third-largest breast implant maker in the world, to withdraw its implants in 2010 after an inspection revealed it was using industrial-grade silicone in some of its products.

The French government has been investigating possible links to cancer from the gel used in PIP implants but has found no evidence so far.

Argentina, Colombia and Brazil have long been magnets for medical tourists looking for more affordable cosmetic surgery and they banned imports of the implants in April 2010, officials said.

It is estimated that some 15,000 women have PIP implants in the Andean nation.

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