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Illegal Kidney Trade Booms As New Organ 'Sold Every Hour'. . .

Transplant tourism – what drives it?: 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 vast sums to be made by both traffickers and surgeons have been underlined by the arrest by Israeli police last week of 10 people, including a doctor, suspected of belonging to an international organ trafficking ring and of committing extortion, tax fraud and grievous bodily harm. Other illicit organ trafficking rings have been uncovered in India and Pakistan.

In China: “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.”

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.”

ENDS – News source – UK Guardian. Reporters: Denis Campbell and Nicola Davison reporting from Shanghai.

~Posted by Horiwoodblog.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 28.5.12~

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