South Africa hospital fined for using trafficked organs
A South African court has fined a hospital nearly 435,000 euros for performing kidney transplants on Israelis - using organs bought from Brazilians and Romanians.
Durban's commercial crime court handed down the fine after a plea bargain agreement over the scandal, which broke in September when St Augustine's hospital was charged with conducting more than 100 illegal operations from 2001 to 2003.
The hospital, run by private investment holding company Netcare Limited, is located in eastern KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Netcare and its subsidiaries operate the largest private hospital network in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
The company released a statement saying that "certain of the kidney donors were minors" and that "payments must have been made" for those organs.
The fine sends a very clear message to organ traffickers, Dr Andrew Gray, a professor of medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban told RFI.
"There will be no tolerance at all in this country for unethical practices in terms of organ transplants," Gray says. "If somebody is induced to donate an organ for reasons other than altruism and is paid for that organ, than the risk of that being a choice based on necessity or the desire for money makes it an unacceptable option entirely."