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Discerning public opinion: how financial incentives could improve organ donation,reduce donor-recipient gap

June 16, 2008, the AMA adopted policy calling for the modification of current law to allow pilot studies on financial incentives for cadaveric organ donation. The current law, the National Organ Transplantation Act, prohibits financial incentives for organ donation, stating that any motivation for donation other than altruism is unethical. The AMA already supports study into financial incentives for cadaveric organ donation.
AMA Board Member Joseph Annis, MD stated:

Today there are nearly 100,000 patients waiting for organ transplants of all types, and that number continues to grow. Exploring all ethical ways to increase the number of organ donations may save lives that may otherwise be tragically lost. Voluntary organ donation remains important, but motivational incentives that could increase organ donations — including financial incentives — must be studied.(1)

With respect to New York on this point, New York State Law prohibits the sales and purchases of human organs as described in PHL section 4307. Another strategy employed for increasing organ donations is reflected in Article 43-A - REQUEST FOR CONSENT TO AN ANATOMICAL GIFT , 4351 - Duties of hospital administrators, organ procurement organizations, eye banks and tissue banks.(2)
A paper dated 4/18/2006 focuses on certain aspects of this subject area: see Brooklyn Law School Law Review paper by David I. Flamholz entitled: "A Penny for Your Organs: Revising New York's Policy on Offering Financial Incentives for Organ Donation." (3)
An Internet search using the words: "organ transplants buying and selling"- resulted in finding an article from www.medscape.com, entitled: "National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA) Bans Buying and Selling" (4). Here is a brief excerpt pointing to one important part of the picture, among others--please read the article in full:
[The] surge in biotechnology fuels the debate. While society has not shunned the sale of hair, sperm, blood, and other replenishable body parts, the question of whether society should venture into the commercialization of human organs remains unsettled; not so much because of a growing desire of individuals to sell their organs for transplantation, but partially because of the explosion of the biotechnology industry. Yes, a growing number of patients are waiting for an organ transplant, and alternatives to increase the donor supply are in constant demand. However, simply stated, advances in biotechnology have generated uses and needs for bodily tissues that were unfathomable until recent years. And although federal and state laws ban the buying and selling of organs for transplantation, they have not exclusively banned their use in research, education, and commercial endeavors, all of which have increased their value....

(1)http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/18674.html
(2)http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?COMMONQUERY=LAWS Public Health Law , Article 43, in part below
(3) http://www.brooklaw.edu/students/journals/bjlp/jlp14i_flamholz.pdf

http://www.brooklaw.edu/students/journals/jlp.php The Journal of Law and Policy is a scholarly journal of analysis and commentary whose mission is to promote the debate of law related issues and public policy through the publication of articles written by legal scholars, law students, and distinguished members of the legal and policymaking communities.
(4) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/465200_2 link here to view the entire article plus its cites, please note that a one time registration is needed, which is free of charge. see Medscape Terms and Conditions, Permissions
http://www.medscape.com/pages/public/about/about Medscape is a part of WebMD Health Professional Network that includes theHeart.org and eMedicine.com.

Article 43 - (4300 - 4310) ANATOMICAL GIFTS
Article 43-A - (4351) REQUEST FOR CONSENT TO AN ANATOMICAL GIFT
Article 43-B - (4360 - 4368) ORGAN, TISSUE AND BODY PARTS PROCUREMENT AND STORAGE
§ 4307.

Prohibition of sales and purchases of human organs. It shall
be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise
transfer for valuable consideration any human organ for use in human
transplantation. The term human organ means the human kidney, liver,
heart, lung, bone marrow, and any other human organ or tissue as may be
designated by the commissioner but shall exclude blood. The term
"valuable consideration" does not include the reasonable payments
associated with the removal, transportation, implantation, processing,
preservation, quality control, and storage of a human organ or the
expenses of travel, housing, and lost wages incurred by the donor of a
human organ in connection with the donation of the organ. Any person who
violates this section shall be guilty of a class E felony.

Section 4351
4. Where a patient is a suitable candidate for organ, eye or tissue
donation and where the patient has not properly executed an organ donor
card, driver's license authorization to make an anatomical gift,
pursuant to paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section five hundred
four of the vehicle and traffic law, registered in the New York state
organ and tissue registry under section forty-three hundred ten of this
article, or otherwise given written authorization for organ, eye or
tissue donation, the hospital or its designee shall cause a timely
request to be made to any of the following persons, in order of priority
stated,
when persons in prior classes are not available and in the
absence of actual notice of contrary intentions by the decedent, or
actual notice of opposition by a person or persons in the highest
priority
available of the classes specified in paragraph (a), (b), (c),
(d), or (e) of this subdivision, or other reason to believe that an
anatomic gift is contrary to the decedent's religious beliefs, to
consent to the gift of all or any part of the decedent's body for any
purpose specified in article forty-three of this chapter:
(a) the spouse;
(b) a son or daughter eighteen years of age or older;
(c) either parent;
(d) a brother or sister eighteen years of age or older;
(e) a guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of his or her
death.

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