7 International Healthcare Scandals that Rocked the World

Healthcare industry, just like any other has its own set of shady activities. However, this is one field where malpractice and wrong actions affect the life of the people directly, making it even more horrendous. Here are 7 horrifying international scandals from the past decade that rocked the foundation of the healthcare industry.

7. Gurgaon Illegal Kidney Transplant Racket (2008)

This atrocious organ trafficking scandal was discovered in 2008 in Gurgaon, a small industrial town near the Capital of India. The media couldn’t get enough of this dreadful practice performed by Dr. Amit Kumar. According to the investigations, he coerced poor laborers into selling their kidneys for a mere $1000 and sold them to the richest bidders on the black market across India, Europe, and the United States charging amounts as high as $37,500 per organ. This scandal appalled Indian public health representatives who then ran campaigns to encourage organ donations to reduce the demand of illegal organs.

6. Chinese Heparin Recall (2008)

Heparin Recall

Just like India, another scandal occurred in China in 2008. Again the media went haywire with the intensity of this disgraceful act by a US firm named Scientific Protein Laboratories operating in China. This scandal involved the drug heparin which was recalled very shamefully. Heparin is basically an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, which has been used to help thousands of patients in prevention of blood clots since the 1930s. It is particularly used for patients post-surgery, during dialysis and it is also helpful for bedridden patients.

Heparin is made from the tissues of slaughtered animals and this particular batch was allegedly contaminated which caused more than 750 severe drug-linked injuries and proved fatal to 81 patients. The presumption that shook everyone to the core was that this contamination was deliberate as it reduced the price of the drug and there wasn’t much difference between the actual drug and the contaminated batch.

5. Poly Implant Prothèse Recall (2009)

PIP Breast Implant

This was one of the worst cases related to cosmetic surgery. Poly Implant Prothèse, a French company presumably produced and circulated defective breast implants. Unauthorized silicone fillers of industrial grade were used to form these implants that doubled the rupture rate in comparison to other causes. Approximately 300,000 women across more than 60 countries were affected as they got these defective implants and were persuaded to get them removed. Scarring, inflammation and fibrosis are some well-known effects of ruptured breast implants and some side-effects could not even be predicted as these contaminants were never used before this incident. The owner was charged with fraud and the implants were removed from the market.

4. UK Whistle-blowers Silenced (2010)

Whistle blower

It is commonly believed that there are some specific protocols and protection is provided to people within the healthcare industry around the world who bring forward the unlawful activities and the wrongdoings within the industry.

However, it was discovered in 2010 that such whistleblowers are being silenced in the United Kingdom. Contrary to getting the protection that they deserve, they are the ones who have had to face legal actions by NHS, terminated, bullied and silenced.

3. New England Meningitis Outbreak (2012)


One of the most outrageous and scandalous act of deliberate wrongdoing came forward in 2012 in New England where a multi-state meningitis epidemic broke out. This outbreak was traced back to the 3 batches of medication used for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was able to connect the epidemic to epidural steroid injections. Fungi was discovered which was contaminating the injections and what is worst is that NECC (The New England Compounding Center) located in Massachusetts was responsible for manufacturing and distributing these medications without a confirmed report of their sterility. It caused the death of 48 people and more than 700 people had been contaminated by March of 2013.

2. California Female Prisoners Sterilized (2013)


2013 brought out the disgraceful and criminal acts against the female inmates in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation where approximately 150 female inmates underwent sterilization without their consent and knowledge. This dreadful activity was performed during 2006-2010.

One discovery led to another and it was discovered that this type of malpractice was spread over more than two decades and approximately 250 women had undergone tubal ligations. This practice was a direct violation of prison rules. The women considered having high recidivism rates were especially targeted by prison staff. They were forced to undergo the procedure when they were at the medical facilities for pregnancy treatment. The Valley State Prison for Women and the California Institution for Women in Corona were the two notorious prisons charged with these crimes along with a physician who already had a bad rep in and outside the facility.

1. Healthcare.gov Website (2013)

Healthcare.gov Website

This scandal may not affect the people physically but the controversial Affordable Care Act plan, healthcare.gov, brought shame and disgrace to the industry regarding the funds involved as the cost of the website was up to $677 million. This project could have been completed for a portion of this huge amount. On top of that, the site is not functioning properly. There are too many loopholes involving the project as the Canadian Company got this project automatically without any bid.