Saturday, January 12, 2019

Non-transplant tissue banks

The Brown Political Review (a student publication at Brown University) takes a look at the lightly regulated market for cadavers and body parts for uses other than transplants:

Merchants of Death: The Thriving, Unregulated Body Brokerage Industry

"Cadavers are irreplaceable in both the training of new medical students and medical research. Companies that make medical products also rely heavily on human tissue. Many medical schools operate their own donation programs, which provide the majority of cadavers needed for their education and research. However, many other bodies are obtained from body brokers. These body brokers, also known as non-transplant tissue banks, serve as middlemen between the recently deceased and the market for cadavers. They solicit donations from patients or their families, dismember or otherwise process the bodies as required, and sell what remains to the highest bidders. Each part has a price: a foot may sell for $250, a head might fetch $1,000. For these businesses, bodies are raw materials to be harvested and sold to other institutions for further use."

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