Former UCI Fertility Doctor to be Extradited for Trial
Fugitive fertility doctor Jose Balmaceda was captured last week in a Buenos Aires, Argentina, airport and arrested in connection with the 1994 UC-Irvine fertility clinic "scandal," but it might take one year to extradite him, the Los Angeles Times reports. Along with Dr. Ricardo Asch, Balmaceda allegedly harvested eggs from women and then implanted them in other women or used them "improperly" for research at UCI's Center for Reproductive Health. Asch fled to Mexico before he was indicted, but prosecutors are preparing to file extradition papers for his return. As for Balmaceda, he is expected to fight extradition in an Argentine court that will determine whether the U.S. government has enough evidence to warrant extradition, the Times reports. Some international law experts say that extradition could be delayed, even though prosecutors say they have a "solid" case, because of "the complex and unique nature of the nationally known case." In addition, U.S. prosecutors will have to prove fraud under Argentine law. USC law professor Edwin Smith said, "What looks like a simple violation of law to us doesn't look so easy when asking another country to enforce our laws" (Marosi, Los Angeles Times, 1/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.