New Delhi: In an attempt to prevent misuse of organs used for transplant, the government has mandated that allocation of organs be made in a specified sequence giving preference to Indians over foreigners.
However, the move is being resisted by the medical fraternity which says it will lead to doctors differentiating between patients based on region and nationality, which is a violation of Medical Council of India (MCI) Act.
In a letter addressed to health secretary Lov Verma, Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, "Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules, 2014 are now been implemented and the rule 31 (4e) is a violation of MCI Act...the matter is a serious concern to the medical fraternity and needs immediate attention".
In terms of priority, the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules, 2014 says that needs of Indian patients need to be fulfilled before catering to foreign patients.
The move may also negatively impact the revenues of private hospitals which depend on organ transplantation for foreigners. In turn it will impact the medical tourism industry of India as well which is currently at around $3 billion and is growing at a rate of 20 per cent per year.
The latest move comes after a Delhi government order to private hospitals that they should obtain a no-objection certificate from at least two government hospitals with waiting lists – RP Centre (AIIMS) and Guru Nanak Eye Centre (MAMC) – before undertaking any transplant.
According to Organ Retrieval Banking Organization of AIIMS, only 25,000 cornea transplants are possible in India, though more than 1 lakh corneas are required every year.
Likewise, there is a need for 1-1.5 lakh kidneys per year, while transplants number not more than 3,500-4,000.