Global Kidney Exchange in the Lancet, by Minerva, Savulescu and Singer

from Market Design at on October 31, 2019 at 12:37PM

Here’s a clear-eyed account of Global Kidney Exchange, from three moral philosophers, forthcoming in The Lancet. You can read the whole thing at the link:

The ethics of the Global Kidney Exchange programme
Francesca Minerva, Julian Savulescu, Peter Singer
The Lancet (online first, Published:October 29, 2019 DOI: )

Summary: The Global Kidney Exchange (GKE) programme seeks to facilitate kidney transplants by matching donor–recipient pairs across high-income, medium-income, and low-income countries. The GKE programme pays the medical expenses of people in medium-income and low-income countries, thus enabling them to receive a kidney transplantation they otherwise could not afford. In doing so, the programme increases the global donor pool, and so benefits people in high-income countries by improving their chances of finding a donor match. Nevertheless, the GKE has been accused of being a form of organ trafficking, exploiting the poor, and involving coercion and commodification of donors. We refute these claims, arguing that the GKE promotes global justice and reduces the potential for people in need of kidneys in low-income and medium-income countries to be exploited. Misguided objections should not be allowed to prevent the GKE from realising its potential to reduce suffering and save the lives of rich and poor patients alike.

The article is very clearly written, it is well worth reading the whole thing.

In a related announcement at the University of Melbourne, Professor Singer and his colleagues have a summary (with pictures):

The Global Kidney Exchange, which aims to expand the kidney donor pool, has been criticised as ‘organ trafficking’, but the counter argument is that it will save the lives of rich and poor patients alike

By Professor Julian Savulescu and Professor Peter Singer, University of Melbourne, and Dr Francesca Minerva, University of Ghent

"Our paper, published in the medical journal The Lancet, provides an ethical defence of the program.

"GKE has been compared to organ selling, a practice considered immoral by many and illegal in most places. However, as nobody gets paid for giving up their kidney through the GKE programme, this comparison does not hold true"