China Has Change of Heart On Transplants

Puts a stop to lucrative transplant tourism
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted Apr 6, 2007 4:40 PM CDT
An overcrowded Chinese hospital   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – China is rethinking a major medical cash cow: providing organ transplants for Westerners on overcrowded waiting lists at home. "Transplant tourism" has been a particularly popular option in Israel, where insurers are required to pony up  for overseas operations. But health officials recently ruled that organs should not be given to foreigners when not enough are available for Chinese citizens.

Complicating the ethics is China's controversial practice of harvesting organs from prisoners, as the country puts convicts to death by the thousands. "The government doesn't take people to kill just for their organs," protests an Israeli who runs a medical tourism company. "They're taken from people who were punished for a crime. If that person has agreed, why not take it?" (Read more China stories.)