Rebate for risky implants

WOMEN with PIP breast implants will now be able to claim a Medicare rebate on MRI scans.

From Monday, scans to check if PIP implants are structurally sound will be added to the Medicare rebate list for the next 12 months.

The Federal government move follows independent advice from the Medical Services Advisory Committee with reports of implant ruptures steadily increasing.

It is believed 400 000 women worldwide have the controversial implants from French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) which have been known to rupture as they are not made of medical grade silicon.

There have been 171 reported cases of ruptures in Australia and a further 26 unreported cases.

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said a rebate on MRI scans for women with PIP implants would help minimize unnecessary surgery.

For 12 months, from Monday March 12, women with a PIP implant can access a Medicare rebate for an MRI to assess the state of their implant and whether it has ruptured or not," Ms Plibersek said in a statement.

"We want women to get the best clinical care including access to a subsidized MRI scans if they choose.

"MRI is a key tool for the diagnosis of problem implants at a time when many women with PIP implants maybe fearful about the condition of their breast implants."

Ms Plibersek said the Government would continue to investigate any potential legal liability of the manufacturer and distributor.

"The Therapeutic Goods Administration will continue to monitor and work with therapeutic goods regulators from around the world to identify the latest information and channels of investigation," she said.


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