CHINA / National

China bans human organ trade
Updated: 2006-03-28 08:47

China's Ministry of Health on Monday issued a temporary regulation on human organ transplants, explicitly banning the sale of organs and introducing a set of medical standards for organ transplants in an effort to guarantee medical safety and the health of patients.

Mao Qun'an, the ministry's spokesman, said that the temporary regulations ban any kind of organ dealing, require the medical institutions to obtain a written agreement from the donors before the transplant and donors are entitled to refuse the donation at the last minute.

The regulation, effective from July 1, requires medical institutions to register at provincial level health departments. Class Three A hospitals, China's top ranking comprehensive hospitals, can apply for registration if they have doctors with clinical organ transplant qualifications, the related transplant equipment, a good management system and a medical ethics committee.

Unregistered medical institutions must not practice organ transplants and qualified doctors with clinical organ transplant training must not practice in unregistered hospitals.

Mao said that registration will be canceled if the patients who receive the transplant do not survive a certain number of years. If the ministry finds any registered medical institutions to be unqualified, the ministry will cancel the registration and punish the people responsible.

The regulation also requires organ transplant cases to be discussed by the ethics committee and the legitimacy of the organ confirmed by the committee. The operations must take place after the committee's approval.

It is estimated that at least 2 million patients in China need organ transplants each year but only up to 20,000 transplants can be conducted because of a shortage of donated organs.