British patients waiting for organ transplants are being offered illegally trafficked kidneys for cash at a Government-controlled hospital, a newspaper investigation has claimed.
The Times claims a Government controlled hospital in Colombo is being recommended to patients as a place where they can receive an organ worth thousands of pounds on the black market.
A journalist working for The Times posed as a relative of a Briton seeking a kidney transplant overseas and claims to have been offered an organ from either the UK or India.
A meeting led by organ "facilitator" Antonio Kanickaraj, was held in Bangalore, India. Mr Kanickaraj allegedly suggested the Lanka Hospital as a location to undergo the transplant operation, which would cost $40,000. $35,000 would also be paid to the organ donor.
The donor would state they were offering the kidney for free on humanitarian grounds to avoid legal barriers surrounding the transplant.
In what The Times say is a secret recording made during the meeting, Mr Kanickaraj, who works for medical tourism specialists Mediease India, allegedly said: "“There are some things that you have to keep confidential like the compensation that you will be giving to the donor,” he said. “That’s the one thing that you have to keep [quiet]].”
However, when he was contacted again about his offer of identifying a donor and making arrangements for the transplant procedure, he denied he was able to help. According to The Times, in an email he said: “We DO NOT ASSIST YOU IN ARRANGING A DONOR. that is something you have to take care [sic].”
There is no evidence that Lanka Hospitals Corporation was aware of the arrangement and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the hospital or other people working for Mediease.
Lanka Hospitals chief executive Lakith Peiris said in a statement to The Times all transplants were legally carried out and that additional documents were required from foreign patients, including an affidavit that the donor had not received additional payments.