Transplant Tourism: The Ethics and Regulation of International Markets for Organs
I. Glenn Cohen
Harvard Law School
April 20, 2013
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2013
“Medical Tourism” is the travel of residents of one country to another country for treatment. In this article I focus on travel abroad to purchase organs for transplant, what I will call “Transplant Tourism.” With the exception of Iran, organ sale is illegal across the globe, but many destination countries have thriving black markets, either due to their willful failure to police the practice or more good faith lack of resources to detect it. I focus on the sale of kidneys, the most common subject of transplant tourism, though much of what I say could be applied to other organs as well. Part I reviews some data on sellers, recipients, and brokers in these markets. Part II discusses the bioethical issues posed by the trade - I skeptically evaluate some of the typical arguments for prohibiting the trade but suggest a different kind of argument that might work better. Part III focuses on potential regulation to deal with these issues. The definitive version of the article can be downloaded from the Journal's website as hosted by Wiley-Blackwell.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: Organ, transplantation, medical tourism, ethics, regulation, medicine, exploitation, coercion, paternalism, philosophy, insurance
Date posted: April 22, 2013
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