French authorities on Friday decided to pay tens of thousands of women who have had relatively cheap silicone breast implants made by a now defunct company, to have them removed on fears that they may rupture and cause health problems, including cancer.
The implants were made of industrial-grade silicone by French company Poly Implant Prothese, whose founder Jean-Claude Mas (72) is on the Interpol list of wanted persons for "life and health" offences.
The PIP implants were globally popular for around 20 years, till several countries banned the product in 2010. Lawsuits against the company reportedly began as early as 2003, and eventually led to its near-bankruptcy.
Britain has refused to follow France in paying citizens to have the implants removed, although even more women have these implants than in France. Authorities there say there are no proven health risks, and removing the implants is in itself a risky process.
Women spread across Europe and South America have the same PIP implants, but authorities there have so far refused to follow the French example.
The product was never available in the US.