Monday, April 16, 2007

Reining in the Organ Market

In this opinion piece William Saletan documents the growing market of organ trafficking and offers a solution to reverse this troubling trend.

The key to reversing the organ market is to turn that equation on its head. Stop fighting capitalism, and start using it. What's driving the market is scarcity. Americans, Britons, Israelis, Japanese, and South Koreans are going abroad for organs mostly because too few of their
countrymen have agreed to donate organs when they die. Some have religious objections. Others are squeamish. Many figure that if they don't supply the organs, somebody else will.

They're right. Somebody else will supply the organs. But that somebody won't be a corpse. He'll be a fisherman or an out-of-work laborer who needs cash and can't find another way to get it. The middlemen will open him up, take his kidney, pay him a fraction of the proceeds, and abandon him, because follow-up care is just another expense. If he recovers well enough to keep working, he'll be lucky.

The surest way to stop him from selling his kidney is to make it worthless, by flooding the market with free organs. If you haven't filled out a donor card, do it now. Because if the dying can't get organs from the dead, they'll buy them from the living.

Read the rest of the article at Slate or the Washington Post.

1 comment:

Sean Philpott said...

There's also some interesting stuff coming out of India regarding organ brokers. My friend Scott Carney is doing some real groundbreaking investigation ... see