Britain is looking into new evidence about the risks from breast implants made by a now-closed French firm at the heart of a global health scare, the government said on Saturday.
The French government has already advised the 30,000 women in France who bought implants from Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) to have them removed due to concerns that the prostheses might rupture.
Britain has not yet followed suit and both countries say there is no link to cancer from the implants. But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said new data had emerged and the government would have a fresh look at all the evidence.
We've seen conflicting evidence and, in particular, yesterday we received information from one of the large private providers of cosmetic surgery that said they now had data that they had not previously disclosed to the regulator, he said.
I'm concerned and unhappy about the consistency and quality of data that has been provided ... If there are any safety concerns, we will act.
Lansley has asked the medical director of the National Health Service, Bruce Keogh, to lead the review. Keogh will report his findings early next week.
The investigation will examine data from Britain and overseas and also look into the regulation and safety of private cosmetic surgery in Britain.
The lawyer acting for PIP said on Tuesday that most of the prostheses sold by the French firm since 1991 were produced using a silicone not approved by French health authorities.
Once the third-biggest breast implant maker in the world, PIP went bankrupt in 2010 after an official investigation revealed it was using a cheaper, unapproved industrial-grade silicone in some of its products.
An involuntary-homicide investigation was launched this month after the 2010 death from cancer of a French woman who had PIP implants. That case sparked a global health scare that could affect 300,000 women who have bought implants from PIP.
(Reporting by Matt Falloon; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)