Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 41: Transplantation tourism in Asia: snapshot, consequences and the imperative for policy changes
The global shortage of transplantable human organs has been driving desperate patients mainly from the developed world to developing countries, looking for life-saving transplants. Asia is the major destination. Referred to as transplant tourism, this special flow of patients has been subject to vast controversies. However, the broad ethical condemnation and health concerns have largely failed to prevent this industry from flourishing. In contrast to the increasingly prosperous market, the existing regulatory frameworks are certainly ineffective. This chapter overviews the global picture of transplant tourism and particularly focuses on Asia. The situation in major destination countries, including India, Pakistan, the Philippines and China is outlined. This chapter also examines the drastic reforms adopted by Iran and Israel and articulates that while international coordination of organ transplantation policy is undoubtedly needed, the long-term resolution fundamentally lies in domestic efforts. It is imperative to move beyond ethical debates and embark on responsible and adaptive policy changes, with national self-sufficiency the ultimate goal.
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