Government initiates investigation into allegations of cash-for-kidney transactions involving Apollo Hospitals.

“A recent exposé by ‘The Telegraph’ alleges Apollo Hospitals’ involvement in a cash-for-kidneys scandal, asserting that the hospital transported individuals from Myanmar to donate kidneys to affluent Burmese patients in exchange for payment. Responding to these claims, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has initiated an inquiry into the matter.

The investigation was prompted by a December 3 report in ‘The Telegraph,’ revealing that Apollo Hospitals had allegedly orchestrated the kidney donations by flying in villagers from Myanmar. The scam was spotlighted when an operation was conducted at Indraprastha Hospital, Apollo’s flagship facility in New Delhi.

Indraprastha Medical Corporation Limited, a collaboration between Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited and the Delhi government, has vehemently denied the accusations, deeming them “absolutely false, ill-informed, and misleading.”

The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation, part of the Union Health Ministry, has directed Delhi Health Secretary Dr. SB Deepak Kumar to examine the allegations and take appropriate action within the legal framework. A committee will be established to delve into the matter, with Dr. SB Deepak Kumar requesting details of donors and patients from the hospital.

In accordance with India’s Transplantation of Human Organs Act, organ donations typically involve close relatives, and donations between strangers require rigorous scrutiny to ensure altruistic motives. The Act also mandates documentation, including forms from relevant embassies, family trees, marriage certificates, and photographs for organ transplants involving foreign nationals.

‘The Telegraph’ report disclosed the case of Daw Soe Soe, a 58-year-old patient, who allegedly paid 8 million Myanmar kyat (Rs 3,16,681) for a kidney transplant at Indraprastha Hospital, with the donor being a stranger. The report exposed the use of agents to connect patients with strangers willing to donate kidneys for financial gain.

Apollo’s Myanmar head, Dr. Thet Oo, reportedly admitted to these practices, claiming that agents forge documents to establish fake familial relationships, which are accepted by Indian authorities. The hospital, however, asserts that their transplant authorization committee rigorously reviews documents, conducts interviews, and ensures genetic testing to confirm relationships.

In response to the scandal, Apollo Hospitals removed Dr. Thet from its Myanmar center without providing specific reasons. Despite the hospital’s denial of the allegations, the government-initiated probe is expected to delve into the intricate details of the reported cash-for-kidneys racket.”

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