Netcare fined for illicit transplants

2010-11-09 17:44

Johannesburg - Netcare [JSE:NTC] on Tuesday confirmed that it had pleaded guilty to contravening sections of the Human Tissue Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and had paid fines relating to illicit organ transplants at its St Augustine's Hospital in Durban.

The listed healthcare group said that under a plea agreement it was fined R20 000 for contravening sections of the Human Tissue Act.

It was also fined R4m for receiving money from kidney transplants and participating in unlawful activities under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

It also paid R3.8m in a confiscation order for benefiting from the illegal operations.

The charges against Netcare and its CEO Dr Richard Friedland have been unconditionally withdrawn, it said.

Netcare and Friedland had been charged with a number of offences arising from organ transplants performed by several doctors at the St Augustine's Hospital between June 2001 and November 2003.
"Netcare has concluded that certain employees of Netcare KwaZulu must have been aware that illegal operations were performed at the St Augustine's Hospital, that certain employees participated in these illegalities and Netcare KwaZulu wrongly benefited from the proceeds of these operations," it said.

"The conduct of these employees is legally attributable to Netcare KwaZulu, notwithstanding that they disregarded Netcare's internal policies and protocols governing non-related live organ transplants and the guidelines issued by the department of health," Netcare said.

It said that none of the offending staffers remained in its employ, and that the last of the illegal transplants had been performed in 2003.

Since then it has tightened up on guidelines and procedures, it said.

  • Coastal Chappie - 2010-11-09 20:53

    As a EX Netcare Hospital Management member, I am thrilled Netcare were charged and admitted guilt. It now confirms my beliefs as to why Netcare Staff were encouraged, some forced to attend GLITZY/ FANFARE TYPE organ donor functions prior/during the period concerned. This to encourage staff and their families and friends to become donors. With the ADMITTANCE OF GUILT IN THIS HORRENDOUS MATTER, It is GLARINGLY OBVIOUS it was NOT for benefit of South African health or to assist South Africans in NEED. As such, HOW MANY South African organs were also sold is a question that requires urgent investigation and answering. Without doubt,a window of opportunity for HUGE FINANCIAL BENEFIT AND GREED,to NETCARE by selling organs to people from other countries no matter how they were obtained. GOES WITHOUT SAYING WHERE NETCARE'S PRIORITIES LAY/LAID.

  • Ouch! - 2010-11-09 21:50

    This is sad, so much for trusting dOCTORS. Im glad this is not done by one of those of us who are African, Indian or anyonelse. otherwise there would be an outcry on this very page about how corrupt we are. shame on you FIN24 users.

  • Yaku - 2010-11-10 00:53

    I worked for Netcare during those times, and had to film a few of "those" operations.......

  • mike - 2010-11-10 06:41

    @ouch they should name and shame the individual Doctors concerned regardless of who it is.

  • Pieter Ferreira - 2010-11-10 07:00

    I don't think there's any problem with transplants. As long as it's on willing buyer willing seller basis, and the ongoing health issues are explained to the donor. If someone needs R250 000 and is prepared to sell a kidney to get it, that's their choice. I don't understand why everyone is clamoring for a perceived moral high ground. A live organ market should be started, controlled and taxed. That would prevent dodgy operating conditions and financial ripoffs.

  • Giles - 2010-11-10 07:22

    The last comment from OUCH regarding race is incorrect if you analyse the racial profile of some of the doctors performing the illegal procedures.CHECK YOUR FACTS!! I agree that Netcare be punished but this fine is a JOKE in terms of the benefit Netcare gained from the illegal business. Their claim that HO did not know about this illegal practice in KZN does not fool anyone!!

  • Light - 2010-11-10 07:27

    Shame on you NETCARE and all the silent loudmouths who have not commented when the old order steals heart and soul from South Africa. The Doctor's involved are thankfully not a reflection of the profession but of Netcare's policies.

  • Maybe - 2010-11-10 08:22

    All those involved have left Netcare?

  • african - 2010-11-10 08:26

    I agree with you Ouch!, Ouch! you nailed it.

  • Derrick - 2010-11-10 09:33

    @Ouch! Guilty conscious I see. Regardless, it's not right and people have lost there lives because of this.

  • Pierre - 2010-11-10 09:36

    I think it is a disgrace that you can pay a fine and carry on - business as usual ! The people behind it are getting away scotfree and are hiding behind the company. Charge them in person and baar the "professional" doctors doing the operations.

  • Giles - 2010-11-10 10:02

    The Netcare SENS (JSE)announcement declares that the CEO & Board are vindicated by the fine Hell no they are not!! they struck a guilty plea deal when they realised that their denial version was not going to stand up to factual scrutiny. All this has done is protect the CEO whilst dropping the doctors and staff coordinators. I hope that these people in their trial testimony prove that the plea deal is based on false declaration and that the Netcare HO senior team were in fact fully in the the "illegal" picture. Perjury!!

  • Confused - 2010-11-10 10:31

    I am confused, people willingly donated organs and got paid for it, to people who needed the organs to save their lives. Where exactly is the crime? And what should Netcare be ashamed of?

  • Not confused - 2010-11-10 10:56

    @Confused. "People willingly donated" stop there! There was no donation - they sold their organs and THAT IS AGAINST THE LAW!

  • Giles - 2010-11-10 12:00

    For the edification of "Mr Confused" what Netcare did is against both South African Law and international law. The Brazilians involved are already in Jail in Brazil!! This would have been swept under the carpet if Interpol had not been involved.

  • Krissie Vannie Kaap - 2010-11-12 05:57

    I am appalled - donating means just that - no price tag. Shame on you Netcare and the doctors! This makes a mockery of all health care providers. But I am happy to say I can still do my job with a smile and dignity because we aren't all like that!

  • Ian - 2010-11-15 13:11

    yet another classic example of the rich exploiting the poor - the classic SA tale!

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