Monday, April 6, 2009

Markets for organs

In Reward Organ Donors , Sally Satel writes in the Asian WSJ about the recent changes in Singapore law regarding compensation for donors (see my previous posts here and here). She goes on to outline the design of the kind of market she would like to see, and ways in which perceived repugnance might be addressed.

"My colleagues and I suggest a system in which a donor can accept a reward for saving the life of a stranger. A third party (the government, a charity or insurer) would provide the benefit and newly available organs would be distributed to the next in line -- not just to the wealthy. Donors would be carefully screened for physical and emotional impediments to safe donation, as is currently done for all volunteer living kidney donors. Moreover, they would be guaranteed follow-up medical care for any complications.
Many people are uneasy about offering lump-sum cash payments. A solution is to provide in-kind rewards, such as a down payment on a house, a contribution to a retirement fund or lifetime health insurance, so the program would not be attractive to people who might otherwise rush to donate on the promise of a large sum of instant cash.
Not only will more lives be saved through legal means of donor rewards, but fewer people will haunt the black-market organ bazaars of places like China, Pakistan, Egypt, Colombia and Eastern Europe. The World Health Organization estimates that 5% to 10% of all transplants performed annually -- perhaps 63,000 in all -- take place in these clinical netherworlds."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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