Health: EU legislates on organ transplants
24 May 2010
Fewer deaths and greater safeguards to prevent organ trafficking: these are the goals of the new directive on common safety and quality standards for the donation and transplantation of organs in EU member states, passed by the European Parliament at the end of last week. Until now, differences in national legislation have meant that there is no reliable system for the exchange of organs between different countries. Worse still, Trouw reports that the current supply of organs is deficient to the point where "every day 12 of the 60,000 Europeans waiting for transplants die before appropriate donated organs become available." The directive includes provisions for a tracking system with mandatory procedures for the verification of the identity of donors, and further stipulates that all donations must be "voluntary and unpaid." However, "the principle of non-payment will not prevent living donors from receiving compensation, provided it is strictly limited to making good the expenses and loss of incomes related to the donation." Member states will also set up a system for the exchange of data on availability of donated organs, which varies in different national jurisdictions.