Transplants for foreigners restricted
Updated: 2007-07-03 13:28
China will restrict organ
transplants for foreigners coming to China as tourists, promising priority to
sick Chinese and demanding that patients from other countries seek official
approval, the government announced on Tuesday.
Doctors perform a kidney transplant
operation, from a husband to his wife, in a hospital in Wuhan, Central
China's Hubei Province in this March 6, 2007 photo. China has enacted
rules restricting organ transplants for foreigners.
The rules issued on June
26, 2007 by the Ministry of Health warned hospitals against bringing transplant
patients to China under the guise of medical tourism and said provincial and
central health departments must approve such operations for
About 2 million people in China need transplants each year,
but there are only around 20,000 operations because of shortages of hearts,
kidneys and other organs, local reports have said. But it is reported that
some hospitals, eager for cash, have turned to high-paying foreigners for
The new rules say locals must be given priority.
"Priority in our country's organ transplants must be given to meeting
the needs of Chinese citizens, including permanent residents from Hong Kong,
Macao and Taiwan," said the rules issued on the ministry's Web site (www.moh.gov.cn).
Hospitals and doctors
that break the rules face punishment and loss of their approval to carry out
The announcement represents China's latest effort to plug
loopholes in the organ transplant process.
In March, a senior Chinese
court official told state media that transplants using executed prisoners'
organs were "quite exceptional" and required consent from the convicts or their
Since July, the sale of human organs in China has been
banned. Hospitals now require written consent of donors and restrict the number
of hospitals allowed to perform transplant operations.
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