The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department is developing a bill to curb illegal organ transplants.
The department has completed the first draft of the bill, titled the ‘Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Human Organs and Tissue Transplantation Act 2012’. It is expected to be finalised after Eidul Fitr, following a meeting with health experts across the province. The bill will then be forwarded to the law department for approval before it is tabled in the provincial assembly to be passed as legislation.
“Many people have made organ transplants a profitable business, putting the lives of thousands of people at risk,” Special Secretary for Health Dr Noorul Iman told The Express Tribune. He said a special ethics committee would also be formed, adding that it will include representatives from all religions so that the minorities may not be deprived of their rights.
“Some people go to China for liver transplants, which cost $35,000. This is a loss for our country. If all transplants are done inside the province with special care, then patients will spend their money here ,” Dr Iman maintained. He said those donating organs, particularly kidneys, to earn money should also be punished in order to discourage other people from doing so.
Dr Iman, who did not disclose details of the draft of the act, said that both private and state-run transplant centres would be streamlined by the government and a close eye will be kept on their activities.
Regarding the punishment of those involved in the illegal transplants, the special secretary said that increased fines would be imposed. He added, however, that this did not mean that those involved in the illegal business will be let off in exchange for money.
“Life imprisonment will be included among the punishments mentioned in the act” he said.
Earlier on August 1, the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the federal and provincial governments to legislate the issue of illegal human organ and tissue transplants with an awareness drive and ordered them to submit their report within two weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.