Cash for Kidney scam:  Union Health Ministry orders probe against Apollo Hospital 

Pune Pulse

Cash for Kidney scam:  Union Health Ministry orders probe against Apollo Hospital

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By: Pune Pulse

December 6, 2023

Pune: On Tuesday, official sources reported that the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital is under investigation by the National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organisation (NOTTO), a body under the Union Health Ministry. The probe is in response to allegations of a ‘cash-for-kidney’ scam. The health ministry has ordered this inquiry to ensure transparency and accountability in organ transplantation procedures. 

The report alleged that Apollo was involved in the illicit scheme where individuals from Myanmar, who are facing financial difficulties, are being lured into selling their organs for monetary gain.

The report was dismissed by the Apollo Hospitals on Monday, as they informed it was inaccurate, uninformed, and deceptive. Apollo, a healthcare institution with operations throughout Asia, emphasized that it adheres to all legal and ethical obligations about kidney transplants, including the guidelines established by the government. 

On Tuesday, Apollo Hospitals witnessed a decline in its shares by Rs 34.55, resulting in a settlement of Rs 5,588. A recent report by the UK Daily shed light on a distressing situation where impoverished villagers from Myanmar were being transported to Apollo’s esteemed Delhi hospital. These individuals were allegedly being compensated for donating their kidneys to affluent Burmese patients. The report further revealed that one of the agents involved in this illicit operation referred to it as a lucrative enterprise.

In both India and Myanmar, the act of compensating for organ transplants is against the law, and under normal circumstances, a patient is not permitted to receive an organ donation from an unfamiliar individual. Nevertheless, the report asserted that individuals engaged in this illicit operation ‘collaborate to circumvent the barriers imposed by the two governments.’ The British newspaper disclosed that the purported scheme entailed intricate fabrication of identification papers and the creation of ‘family’ pictures to falsely portray donors as the kin of prospective patients.

Nevertheless, according to a hospital representative, it is mandatory for every foreign donor to present a certification from their respective foreign governments confirming the relationship between the donor and recipient before undergoing a transplant. The spokesperson, quoted by PTI, emphasized that IMCL (Indraprastha Medical Corporation Limited) strictly adheres to all legal and ethical obligations regarding transplant procedures, as well as abiding by the government’s guidelines.

As per the information provided, every donor must submit Form 21, which must be notarized by the relevant ministry in their country. Additionally, this form serves as a certification from the foreign government, confirming the familial relationship between the donor and recipient. The hospital further explained that the transplant authorization committee, appointed by the government at IMCL, meticulously examines the documentation for each case and conducts interviews with both the donor and recipient.

The hospital’s representative also mentioned that the documents were re-verified by the relevant embassy of the country. Additionally, both the patients and donors are subjected to numerous medical examinations, which encompass genetic testing as well.

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