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EDITORIAL : Rescue health service from racketeers

21 January 2016 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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One of the worst alleged scandals in Sri Lanka’s medical history was exposed this week after the Indian media reported that the Indian Police are to charge six Sri Lankan doctors for involvement in a multi-million rupee organ transplant racket. The Indian media named the six doctors and the four Colombo private hospitals in which the 60 kidney transplants were done in violation of medical ethics.

Yesterday the Health Ministry directed all Sri Lankan hospitals to suspend kidney surgeries for foreigners. Health Services Director General Palitha Mahipala said the order was given after the Indian police charged that illegal kidney transplants had been performed in four private hospitals in Sri Lanka.
On Wednesday the Telangana state police filed cases against the six Sri Lankan doctors working with four Colombo hospitals on charges of conducting kidney transplants in violation of ethics.

The Indian media said Nalgonda police had arrested the alleged kingpin in the kidney racket. He was identified as 36-year-old Suresh Prajapathi who with two cronies had operated the racket for the 60 unethical kidney transplants in Sri Lanka.  

Police said they had also arrested Prajapathi’s accomplice Dilip Umedamal Chouhan (31), who allegedly helped to conduct health tests on donors at various diagnostic centres in Ahmedabad.

During the past few decades, after healthcare also was put into the market as a part of the globalised capitalist market economic system, there have been hundreds of allegations of multi-million rupee rackets in Sri Lanka’s private health service. Transnational pharmaceutical corporations, identified as the bigpharma mafia, are alleged to have given tens of millions of rupees to some medical specialists through sponsorships, foreign scholarships and study tours and even luxury cruises for the family. But this week’s charges of involvement in the human organ rackets have brought shame and disgrace not only to the medical profession but also to the country. We hope the national government and the Sri Lanka Medical Council will act urgently and effectively to rescue the medical vocation from the big business trap into which it appears to have fallen.  

According to Indian media reports, interrogation led to Mr. Prajapathi’s alleged confession that he was introduced to human organ trade by a person identified as Dhawal Daruwala, a resident of Surat, in 2012. Donors and recipients were from India and transplants took place in four Sri Lankan hospitals which have been named. The doctors involved have also been named.

The racketeers are alleged to have charged between Indian Rs.28 lakhs and Rs.30 lakhs (more than Sri Lankan Rs. 6.3 million) for a transplant of which he kept Rs.5 lakhs and gave the remaining money to the donor, doctors and others. The reports also said a Sri Lankan trade union leader was also accused of being involved in this organ trafficking business.

For decades different Sri Lankan governments delayed to implement the legislation for a National Medicinal Drugs Policy based on the essential medicines concept of Prof. Senaka Bibile. President Maithripala Sirisena who was earlier the Health Minister charged that in 2014 some transnational drug companies had given as much as Rs. 1000 million to the then ruling party to dilute or derail the National Medicinal Drugs Policy. Thankfully a few months after he was elected President Sirisena and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne ensured that a bill was passed to set up the wide powered National Medicines Regulatory Authority. We urge the NMRA, the Sri Lanka Medical Council and the government to act effectively against those involved in this organ transplant racket and ensure that the Health Service, which means life or death for millions of people, is rescued from racketeers.   
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  • Dr. Walter Kumar Thursday, 11 February 2016 10:06 AM

    We are urgently in need of kidney donors for the sum of $280,000.00 USD, Contact us now on email for more details - (appolohospital1@gmail.com) Also call me on 91 812 390 7649 Dr. Walter Kumar-INDIA


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