Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who would sell kidneys, if kidney sales were legal?

Not just the poor, according to a new (and sure to be controversial) study conducted by interviewing people at regional rail and urban trolley lines near Philadelphia.

The Annals of Internal Medicine has just published an article
Regulated Payments for Living Kidney Donation: An Empirical Assessment of the Ethical Concerns by Scott D. Halpern, Amelie Raz, Rachel Kohn, Michael Rey, David A. Asch, and Peter Reese.

It finds: "...participants' willingness to donate increased significantly as their risk for kidney failure decreased, as the payment offered increased, and when the kidney recipient was a family member rather than a patient on a public waiting list (P [lessthan] 0.001 for each). No statistical interactions were identified ...between payment and income (odds ratio, 1.01 [CI, 0.99 to 1.03]). The proximity of these estimates to 1.0 and narrowness of the CIs suggest that payment is neither an undue nor an unjust inducement, respectively. Alerting participants to the possibility of payment did not alter their willingness to donate for altruistic reasons (P = 0.40). "

The lead author, Scott Halpern, is at Penn, affiliated with the Center for Health Incentives.

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