Official calls rings that traffic in organs a ‘racket’

Desperate transplant patients, who don’t really care how a donor organ overseas is procured, are just as much to blame as Amit Kumar, kingpin of an underground kidney trafficking ring busted by police in India, says a Calgary-based medical tourism operator.

Aruna Thurairajan, owner of Overseas Medical Services, gets a few calls every week from patients from as far away as Algeria needing kidney transplants.


A growing global industry, medical tourism connects patients primarily in North America with health services overseas.

"Money is a big factor for people to decide where to go. Often they want to bargain how much to pay the vendor (organ donor). Some of them can be quite selfish and mean. They think they can buy the kidney for peanuts. That’s why the likes of (Kumar) can prosper. So the patient should also be blamed along with him, because the patient bargains down the price," said Thurairajan.

"It’s a big racket. There’s big money involved, but the vendor gets only a fraction of that."‘

‘crimes against life and health’

  • A Brampton resident trained in Ayurvedic medicine, Kumar is wanted by Interpol for "crimes against life and health." He is on the run after police raided his clinic in Gurgaon, India, which illegally harvested kidneys from as many as 500 people.

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