Organ transplant racket rocks Tamil Nadu: Foreigners given priority over Indians

According to a report published in The Hindu, an organ transplant racket has surfaced in Tamil Nadu. Officials from Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have found that foreign nationals were given precedence over Indian patients in the allocation of organs.

According to the reports, foreigners got about 25% of all heart transplants and 33% of lung transplants in the last year.

The Directorate General of Health Services acted on a specific input that at least three hearts from brain-dead patients went to international patients in recent months in Chennai. Acting on the input, they convened an urgent meeting in New Delhi recently and framed stricter guidelines for allocation of organs to foreigners.

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Prof. Vimal Bhandari, the Director of National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (Notto), first talked about the possibility of an organ transplant trade in Tamil Nadu. He reflected upon the proactive involvement of the state to find a solution in this matter. He explained that they can only set guidelines at a national level but health being a state subject, the state has to take action.

The rule regarding the allocation of organs determines the candidate based on two criteria, the date of registration and the medical condition of the patient. Criteria such as gender, race and wealth do not come into the fray in deciding who should get the transplant. The transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 makes it illegal to buy or sell organs in India.

In 2017 alone, foreigners were the recipients of 31 heart transplants, 32 lung transplants, and 32 heart and lung transplants. In contrast, Indians received 91 heart transplants, 75 lung transplants, and 6 heart and lung transplants.

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