Selling a kidney fails to rescue Indians from poverty
- By: Deborah Josefson
Impoverished Indians who sell their kidneys in an effort to escape poverty suffer financially and medically in the long run, a new study has found (JAMA 2002;288:1589-93).
The study has broad ethical and social implications for the prospects of increasing the available organ transplant pool through organ sales, and suggests that financial incentives to increase the pool of donors may backfire.
India has a large population of patients with end stage renal disease, and dialysis is not widely available. It also has a chronic shortage of organs available for donation. Consequently, India harbours a thriving black market in organ trade.
Dr Mahdav Goyal and Dr Ravindra Mehta from the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania and colleagues from the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and the University of California School of Medicine at San Diego conducted a cross sectional survey of people in India who had sold their kidneys.