The Philippines on Tuesday banned organ transplants to foreigners in a bid to curb a thriving black market in the trade of organs in the country, dpa reported.
Under the Department of Health directive, all foreigners are banned from accessing organs from Filipino donors. Hospitals and individuals who violate the ban would face criminal charges.
"This directive comes at a time when the Philippine government faces the ethical and moral imperative to protect the Filipinos, particularly the poor, from the black-market sale of internal organs," Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
"All hospitals and transplant facilities and medical practitioners found to violate this directive are criminally liable as promulgated by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act," he added.
The clampdown was prompted by a reported increase in the number of kidney transplants to foreign patients with kidneys coming from poor Filipinos who sell their organs for as little as 30,000 pesos (714 dollars).
Duque stressed that organ transplants are not part of the government's medical tourism programme, aimed at luring foreigners looking for lower cost health care.