transplantation

For patients awaiting an organ donor the odds are not in their favor. 120,000 patients with need, about 10,300 donors with a gift this last year. But for these patients, a gift at a new life is coming from an unintended source, Americans dying of drug overdoses. An article in the Annals of Internal Medicine detail findings from the transplant registry [1]; in brief, the rise in donated organs from patients dying from drug overdoses has grown in parallel with our opioid crisis. 

Living donors can donate a kidney or part of their liver or lung but represent only 20% of transplantations; the rest are from donors who have died from trauma or a medical cause. Traumatic deaths are primarily from the young without significant medical problems and are “ideal” donors. The demographics of...

In 2016, Canada paid the US 512 million dollars to provide more than 80% of the blood products, specifically immune globulins [1]; they needed to care for their citizens. The U.S. is the second largest supplier, after Ireland, of blood products in the world. What is going on?

The short answer is regulation of market forces. Unlike the U.S., Canada severely limits paid blood donations; in fact, there is currently proposed legislation in Nova Scotia to join the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta in these bans. Why would Canada choose to pay US citizens rather than their own? It seems to turn on ethical concerns. In an open letter, economists and ethicists refute the government narrative that compensated donation is exploitive,...