Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kidney sales--and donor compensation--in China

Sally Satel, writing in Slate, looks optimistically at the move by Chinese authorities to allow compensation for donors.

Yuan a Kidney? China's proposals to pay organ donors flout the status quo. That's a good thing.

"Last month, the China's health ministry announced a proposal that could expand the pool of organs available for transplant surgeries. Huang told the Chinese press that his office was considering several possible incentives. These include tax rebates, deduction of transplant-related hospital fees, medical insurance, tuition waivers for donors' family members, or deduction of burial fees for people who donated in death.

"Unfortunately, much of the international transplant establishment—including the World Health Organization, the Transplantation Society, and the World Medical Association—focuses exclusively on obliterating illicit organ sales. While this may seem like a reasonable approach to abhorrent practices, in reality it is a lethal prescription.

"Efforts to stamp out corruption either drive it further underground or cause unauthorized markets to pop up elsewhere."

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