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Apollo Hospitals accused of illegal organ trade: ‘It’s big business’. Hospital chain vehemently denies accusation

The hospital chain, Apollo Hospitals has been accused of being a part of an illegal organ trade involving impoverished Myanmar villagers, according to a Telegraph news report. A Telegraph (UK) investigation suggests that ‘desperate’ young people from Myanmar are being lured to to sell their kidneys to wealthy patients.

The Telegraph report said that ‘desperate’ villagers from Myanmar, in a major ethical and legal breach, are flown to Delhi. They allegedly receive payment for donating kidneys, violating Indian and international laws against organ trade.

Meanwhile, Apollo Hospitals has expressed shock over these findings. 

This practice reportedly targets rich patients, including those from the UK. People “work together to get around the obstacles between the two governments,” the publication added. “It’s big business,” the Telegraph reported quoting one of the agents.

Around the world, including India, it is illegal to pay for organs.

The operation involves forging identity documents and staging family photos, presenting donors as relatives of patients. This manipulation is designed to bypass legal restrictions prohibiting organ donations from strangers, the publication added.

As per India’s Transplantation of Human Organs Act, near relatives like spouses, siblings, parents and grandchildren are allowed to donate organs. Strangers are not allowed to donate organs unless it is for a humanitarian cause.

The Telegraph mentions a young father from Mandalay expressing his readiness to sell his kidney due to dire financial needs. The agent coordinating this transaction quoted a price and rationalised the payment as a response to the donor’s kindness, emphasising that it was not a straightforward purchase but a token of gratitude.

Apollo Hospitals reacts

The hospital group vehemently denies any intentional involvement or implicit sanctioning of such illegal activities and has announced an internal investigation.

Padma Shri Dr. Sandeep Guleria has been named by patients and agents as the surgeon conducting these transplants. Dr. Guleria, however, categorically denies knowledge of these illegal practices. He found the accusations both offensive and laughable, with no evidence found to contradict his denial.

Previously, in 2016, Dr. Guleria faced allegations linked to a separate kidney scandal at Apollo’s Delhi hospital, which he dismissed as false.

Read the original report HERE.

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Updated: 05 Dec 2023, 10:20 AM IST

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