Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kidney black markets are hard to stop

It's difficult to collect reliable evidence about criminal activity, but The Guardian reports on recent WHO estimates of illegal kidney sales. Illegal kidney trade booms as new organ is 'sold every hour':  World Health Organisation estimates 10,000 black market operations involving human organs take place each year

"Evidence collected by a worldwide network of doctors shows that traffickers are defying laws intended to curtail their activities and are cashing in on rising international demand for replacement kidneys driven by the increase in diabetes and other diseases.

"Patients, many of whom will go to China, India or Pakistan for surgery, can pay up to $200,000 (nearly £128,000) for a kidney to gangs who harvest organs from vulnerable, desperate people, sometimes for as little as $5,000.
"The Guardian contacted an organ broker in China who advertised his services under the slogan, "Donate a kidney, buy the new iPad!" He offered £2,500 for a kidney and said the operation could be performed within 10 days.

"The resurgence of trafficking has prompted the WHO to suggest that humanity itself is being undermined by the vast profits involved and the division between poor people who undergo "amputation" for cash and the wealthy sick who sustain the body parts trade.

"The illegal trade worldwide was falling back in about 2006-07 – there was a decrease in 'transplant tourism'," said Luc Noel, a doctor and WHO official who runs a unit monitoring trends in legitimate and underground donations and transplants of human organs. But he added: "The trade may well be increasing again. There have been recent signs that that may well be the case. There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made. It's ever growing, it's a constant struggle. The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there."

"Lack of law enforcement in some countries, and lack of laws in others, mean that those offering financial incentives to poor people to part with a kidney have it too easy, Noel said."
"A medical source with knowledge of the situation said: "While commercial transplantation is now forbidden by law in China, that's difficult to enforce; there's been a resurgence there in the last two or three years.

"Foreigners from the Middle East, Asia and sometimes Europe come and are paying $100,000 to $200,000 for a transplant. Often they are Chinese expats or patients of Chinese descent."

"Some of China's army hospitals were believed to be carrying out the transplants, the source added.

"The persistence of the trade is embarrassing for China. The health ministry in Beijing has outlawed it and has also promised to stop harvesting organs from executed prisoners by 2017, a practice that has brought international condemnation.

"Jim Feehally, a professor of renal medicine at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust, said: "Since the Declaration of Istanbul the law on trafficking has been changed in the Philippines – which was one of the centres of transplant tourism – and the Chinese government realises that things have to change." Feehally is also president of the International Society of Nephrology, which represents 10,000 specialist kidney doctors worldwide. "Trafficking is still continuing – it's likely that it is increasing," he said. "We know of countries in Asia, and also in eastern Europe, which provide a market so that people who need a kidney can go there and buy one."

"The key issue, Feehally said, was exploitation. "You are exploiting a donor if they are very poor and you are giving them a very small amount of money and no doctor is caring for them afterwards, which is what happens.

"The people who gain are the rich transplant patients who can afford to buy a kidney, the doctors and hospital administrators, and the middlemen, the traffickers. It's absolutely wrong, morally wrong." ************

HT: Rubén Martínez Cárdenas

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing..