Apollo Hospitals: After Delhi govt, Centre orders probe into allegations against Apollo Hospitals’ involvement in kidney trafficking

The National Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organisation (NOTTO) under the Union Health Ministry ordered an inquiry into allegations of cash-for-kidney scam against Indraprastha Apollo hospital, official sources said Tuesday.

“The NOTTO under the Union Health Ministry has asked the SOTTO (State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation) to inquire into the matter,” an official source told PTI on Tuesday.

Earlier, Delhi government’s secretary, health and family welfare S B Deepak Kumar told TOI that they were ordering an inquiry into the case. Apollo’s involvement was reported by London-based newspaper ‘The Telegraph’.

The daily claims that though paying for organs is illegal in India, a middleman in Myanmar told its reporter that “it’s big business”.

It said the modus operandi involves “elaborate forging of identity documents and staging of ‘family’ photographs to present donors as relatives of would-be patients. Under Indian and Burmese laws, a patient cannot receive an organ from a stranger in normal circumstances”.

The report, which names a hospital doctor, alleges that a lot of money changes hands in such illegal transplants.Indraprastha Medical Corporation Ltd (IMCL) on Monday asserted that it follows every legal and ethical requirement for transplants, including government guidelines, refuting the report. The hospital, a part of the Apollo Hospitals group, said each foreign donor is required to provide a certification from their respective foreign governments that the donor and recipient are indeed related before undertaking transplant.”To be clear, IMCL complies with every legal and ethical requirement for the transplant procedures including all guidelines laid down by the government as well as our own extensive internal processes that exceed compliance requirements,” a company spokesperson said.

Further, the spokesperson said, “the allegations made in the recent international media against IMCL are absolutely false, ill-informed and misleading. All the facts were shared in detail with the concerned journalist.”

Elaborating on the hospital’s process on kidney transplant, the spokesperson said IMCL requires every donor to provide Form 21 notarised by the appropriate ministry in their country.

“This form is a certification from the foreign government that the donor and recipient are indeed related,” the spokesperson said and added that the government-appointed transplant authorisation committee at IMCL reviews documents for each case and interviews the donor and the recipient.

According to the spokesperson, IMCL re-validates the documents with the concerned embassy of the country. The patients and donors undergo several medical tests, including genetic testing.

(With TOI inputs)

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