Pregnancy clinics traded in foreign women’s ova

Eleven people have been arrested following a joint investigation by the police and Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) that revealed a clinic in Thessaloniki was paying foreign women 1,000 euros each for their ova, which it then sold to patients in Greece and abroad who were seeking assisted pregnancies.

The head of the Athens security police, Dimitris Georgatzis, said the clinic, which had a branch in Athens, had a number of clients from Northern Europe. A similar case was uncovered in 2010, when a clinic in northern Athens was accused of using reproductive cells from Bulgarian and Romanian women.

The clinics in Thessaloniki and Athens also allegedly imported medicines from Turkey that were administered to women undergoing fertility treatment. The drugs had not been approved by the National Organization for Medicines (EOF). SDOE said that the drugs were copies of established brands.

Officers said that the clinics had imported about 1,000 packs of unapproved drugs since October 2012. As of yesterday, there had been no complaints of pregnancy complications from any of the clinics’ clients.

The raid on the clinics took place as part of a wider operation to tackle the illegal export of drugs. SDOE said on Wednesday that some 250 pharmacies and four wholesalers are suspected of being involved in a scam which led to some 20 million euros’ worth of medicines destined for the Greek market ending up abroad, where they could fetch a higher price.