Kidneys on demand
Did Iran eliminate its waiting list for kidney transplants? And if so, where are the kidneys coming from? Anne Griffin investigates
When a Toronto based transplant surgeon and bioethicist wrote last year that Iran had eliminated its waiting list for kidneys, the lay press listened. Abdullah Daar made the claim in Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology while arguing for a regulated system of living kidney sales1. An approving editorial in the Economist shortly after declared: “Governments should let people trade kidneys, not convict them for it2.”
But not everyone agrees that the claim is true. “It depends on how you define waiting list,” Behrooz Broumand, a past president of the Iranian Society of Nephrology, told the BMJ. Javaad Zargooshi, a urologist at the Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, goes further. “The elimination of the waiting list has never occurred in Iran. It is merely a Goebblesian lie repeated over and over by the commercial programme's spin doctors,” he said.
Dr Daar backs his claim with a reference to a paper by Ahad