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Med Law. 1989;7(6):557-65.

Marketing of human organs and tissues is justified and necessary.


The bioethical guidelines now banning commerce in human body parts to be used for transplantation manifest unrealistic and arbitrary inflexibility which perpetuates and worsens the deficit in organ supply. Instead of relying on traditionally revered but now outmoded and even irrelevant bioethical maxims, formulators of the guidelines should have concentrated on a more meaningful situational adaptation to contemporary real-life circumstances. Many unexpectedly relevant and important nuances of concepts such as property, ownership, and altruism must now be taken into account. Hypothetical examples explore the morality of a universal ban by fiat and the associated problems of organ supply and demand, of cost and affordability, and of fair equity. It is difficult to justify purely altruistic organ donation today, when the health care professions and industries are frantically pursuing commercial profits. It is concluded that the ban should be scrapped in favor of a well-organized, open, and legally regulated commercial market for human organs and tissues.

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