Germany investigates illegal exports of body organs from the Czech Republic

The German police force has been investigating alleged illegal imports of human internal organs from the Czech Republic. Czech doctors however, say such that it is highly unlikely that such a business exists. Vladimir Tax has been looking into the case:

A Prague-based company, Transpla-Cent, has allegedly been offering human organs for transplants for patients in Germany, especially those waiting for kidney donors. The suspicious offer has been reported by the German Foundation for Transplants. Imports of body organs are illegal in Germany, and the German police has asked the Czech branch of Interpol to invetigate whether Transpla-Cent has broken Czech laws.

According to information available from the Czech Commercial Register, Transpla-Cent was established in August this year as a limited-liability company by Alexej Kharassov. But 90 percent of the firm's base capital was contributed by Edgar Rudolf Artz , a German national. Although the name of the firm certainly gives the impression that it is in the transplant business, the record in the Commercial Register states rather vaguely that Transpla-Cent provides mediation in trade and services.

The German bureau of investigation said that Transpla-Cent claims to be a consultation centre for a private transplantation clinic in Nevada. It allegedly offers patients who are living on dialysis "instant help in the form of kidneys from live donors" and suggests that they overcome moral and ethical barriers.

The German police began investigating Transpla-Cent's activities after it addressed kidney patients in Germany with a similar offer. German law allows only transplants between relatives, or the use of organs from dead donors.

The head of the top Czech transplant clinic, Transplantcentrum of the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, Stefan Vitko, said he was aware of the activities of Transpla-Cent, but stressed that he knew of no exports of body organs from the Czech Republic by this company.