Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kidney brokers

Costa Rica cracks down on commercial sales of kidneys, some involving patients and brokers from Israel: The New York Times has the story.
Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desperate Kidney Patients to Costa Rica
By KEVIN SACK  AUG. 17, 2014

"Some physicians and ethicists question the relative morality of allowing thousands to die just because the means of saving them is considered repugnant. A regulated marketplace, they say, could all but eliminate the shortage. It is no accident, they argue, that the only country that allows compensation for donors — Iran — effectively has no waiting list.
Experts list China, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics as hot spots for organ trafficking. But illicit transplants usually go undetected unless there is a surgical mistake or a payment dispute. Prosecutions are thwarted by false affidavits, toothless laws and lack of international cooperation, particularly regarding extradition.
Over the last decade, the authorities have pursued only a handful of cases worldwide. Few have sidelined the brokers, who seem bolder than ever. Some, like Mr. Volfman, who leases office space atop a mirrored skyscraper in Ramat Gan, have moved out of the shadows. They brazenly ply their trade even while under police scrutiny, posting Facebook photos of the luxury cars and five-star hotel rooms they rent on the road.
The Times found that brokers in recent years typically have charged clients $100,000 to $200,000 to cover expenses associated with a transplant. As with other scarce luxuries, pricing can be elastic."

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