Government Tightens Oversight on Organ Transplants for Foreigners

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has issued an advisory to all states and union territories (UTs) urging stricter monitoring of organ transplants involving foreign citizens. This follows media reports suggesting potential commercial dealings in organs for foreigners in India. This advisory was dated April 10, 2024.

Key Points of the Advisory:

  • State authorities designated under the Transplantation of Human Organs & Tissues Act (THOTA) 1994 are directed to investigate all organ transplants involving foreign nationals, regardless of complaints.
  • Hospitals performing transplants, whether from living or deceased donors, must register both the donor and recipient on the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) website and obtain unique NOTTO IDs. This is crucial for deceased donor allocation and should be completed within 48 hours of transplant surgery for living donors.
  • States are advised to establish a system for regular inspections of registered transplant hospitals. This will ensure proper monitoring of transplant activities, quality control, and post-operative care for both donors and recipients.
  • Any violation of THOTA or its regulations, including suspicion of illegal activity, will be investigated and may result in suspension of the hospital’s transplant license.
  • The MoHFW reiterates the importance of complete data collection and urges states to share details of all transplant cases, including those involving foreigners, with NOTTO on a monthly basis.

Reporting and Action:

States have been asked to submit an action-taken report detailing their response to these directives within the next 15 days.

Hence, the MoHFW seeks to ensure ethical practices and transparency in organ transplantation across India, particularly for foreign nationals.

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