LONDON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The British government says it will not pay for operations for most U.K. women to have allegedly defective French-made breast implants replaced.
An estimated 40,000 British women received the implants made by the now-defunct French firm PIP that contained non-medical grade silicone, The Sun reported Saturday.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said only women who had the implants done on the Nation Health Service -- about one in 20 -- could expect government reimbursement for their replacement.
The rest, he said, would have to deal with the private surgeons who did their procedures.
"We believe that private healthcare providers have a moral duty to offer the same service to their patients that we will offer to NHS patients -- free information, consultations, scans and removal if necessary," Lansley said.
Most of the NHS operations were for reconstructive surgery after breast cancer, while the majority of private operations were for simple breast enhancement, The Sun reported.