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Pakistani Doctors Behind Bars for Illegal Kidney Removals

Police in the Pakistani city of Lahore have arrested four doctors engaged in the illegally removing human kidneys, officials said Saturday.

The arrests were made Friday night after police apprehended three middlemen and recovered nine men and a woman being held at a heavily guarded house in the city, Lahore police chief Aftab Cheema said.

Police who were alerted by a former patient then raided two private hospitals where the four people underwent surgery.

'These needy and poor people were promised $1,000 for their organs but most of them had not received a single penny after the kidney removal,' Cheema said.

The case is complicated by the absence of laws regulating the sale of human organs in Pakistan.

But police are able to prosecute because some patients had not given their consent to surgery and were lured with promises of employment and accommodation.

Pakistan in recent years became a destination for 'medical tourism' owing to lax medical controls and the relatively low cost of treatment.

Kidney transplants cost as little as $5,000 compared with $100,000 charged in the US.

The Pakistani Parliament is now working on legislation that will regulate the unchecked organ trade and impose heavy fines for violations.


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