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Former breast implant kingpin wanted by Interpol

12/24/2011 10:24 EST | Updated 02/23/2012 05:12 EST

The boss of the defunct French company at the centre of a massive recall of breast implants is wanted by Interpol, but for other reasons.

The international police co-ordinating body has had a "red notice," akin to a global arrest warrant, for Jean-Claude Mas since June.

It was issued at the request of Costa Rica because he's wanted there in connection with a drinking-and-driving incident, Interpol said Saturday in a statement on its website.

Interpol said the red notice has nothing to do with Friday's announcement by the French government that it would pay for 30,000 women to have their silicone breast implants removed over fears they could rupture.

Those implants are just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands produced by French company Poly Implant Prothèse between the mid-2000s and early 2010, when its product was ordered off the market.

Most of the company's implants were exported — about half to South America and a quarter to Western Europe.

So far, no other country has said it will pay for women to have the implants taken out, but Germany has recommended women consult with their doctors about possibly having them removed. The top medical official in Britain, where up to 40,000 women received the implants, said there's no need for worry because authorities have no evidence of a heightened risk of cancer or rupture.

Canada was not among the 65 countries where the products were distributed, Health Canada said earlier this week. Nor was the United States.

At its peak, Poly Implant Prothèse was the world's third-biggest manufacturer of breast implants. French authorities said this week that its products have "a particular fragility" that appears to pose a higher risk of rupture earlier in their life than other implants, and that the silicone gel the company was using is substandard.

France's health and safety agency says more than 1,000 of the implants have burst, and eight women with the implants have developed cancer.

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