Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Cabinet toughens organ sale penalties

TRANSPLANT NEED The Department of Health’s draft amendment would raise fines on sellers, brokers and hospitals, as well as tighten rules for teenage donors

By Flora Wang and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Executive Yuan passed a draft amendment to the Organ Transplant Act (人體器官移植條例) yesterday, raising fines for those who sell organs for transplant or those who broker organ sales.

The amendment proposed by the Department of Health would subject those providing their organs for sale, organ brokers and medical institutions that perform transplants with purchased organs to fines between NT$200,000 (US$6,000) and NT$1 million, from the current NT$90,000 and NT$450,000.

The proposal will be referred to the legislature for review.

The draft seeks to tighten the rules for 18 and 19-year-olds donating part of their livers. If the proposal is passed, teens will only be allowed to donate an organ to blood relatives within five generations with the consent of their guardians. Only adults will be allowed to make liver donations to their in-laws, the draft states.

Those who want to donate their organs after death will be able to indicate this on their National Health Insurance cards, the draft states.

At present, people who are willing to be donors usually carry a card from the Organ Donation Association of the Republic of China.

The proposal would also abolish an article that obliges hospital staff to try to persuade family members of potential organ donors to donate the patients’ organs after death.

In related news, the head of the Transplantation Society of Taiwan said its research showed that about 5,000 patients had kidney transplants in the past 10 years, but almost half had the surgery in a foreign country, mostly in China.

“Many of these patients have their kidney transplants done in China, the Philippines, India, Pakistan and the US, but most go to China,” Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said.

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