Bryan Caplan  

Legal Kidney Selling in Singapore and the International Economy

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Once kidney selling is legal in Singapore, will it enjoy a stampede of kidney-based tourism?  I say yes: Illegal Third World kidney transactions are scary to people from the First World.  So are legal kidney transactions in Iran.  Singapore will be the world's "go to" place to go for unrationed, legal, First World kidney transplants.  It doesn't matter if insurance won't cover it - almost any middle class person from the First World with severe kidney problems would be delighted to pay out of pocket.

Admittedly, this is mostly based on my own introspection: If I was on dialysis, I would already be booking my ticket.  What does your introspection say?


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COMMENTS (16 to date)
OneEyedMan writes:

Iran is an easy country to ignore, Singapore less so. It could cause a reevaluation of other countries attitudes on the subject.

Greg writes:

I would go. It's probably a very easy decision for many people. I could see this causing larger changes, too.

Dan Weber writes:

I would be afraid of legal consequences or losing my health insurance when I got home. Just from a pragmatic front.

hanmeng writes:

Yum! Stake and kidney pie!

sohaib writes:

I'd be on the next flight. Extending my life AND a vacation??? Sign me up.

Dr. T writes:

Re: Dan Weber

You can't lose your health insurance because you paid for a procedure yourself. In fact, your insurer will be pleased because the ongoing costs of dialysis greatly exceed the maintenance costs (mostly anti-rejection drugs) for kidney transplant.

Any place with a large supply of human kidneys will be flooded with requests for transplant. I predict that the initial requests from the U.S. alone will exceed two years supply.

Prakhar Goel writes:

I hope so. I also hope that the experience of getting a kidney that people paid for would convince them that organ sale is not such a terrible idea after all. Singapore is a nice proof that governments don't have to be ecnomically incompetent.

Michael writes:

I'm strongly considering going to Singapore to sell a kidney.

Chris writes:

I probably agree with you, but unlike most economics this is an empirical prediction that should be pretty easy to measure. So what is your prediction?

How many, or at what rate of growth (or however you would like to present it) of medical tourism to Singapore be?

Jeanne writes:

Currently, the number of people needing a transplant continues to rise faster than the number of donors. There are about approximately 3,700 transplant candidates added to the national waiting list each month. On a daily basis aproximately 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs. NHO,NIA)
With a growing demand for organs there are more than 92,000 people on the waiting list. It is suggested that each of us could save or help as many as 50 people by being an organ and tissue donor.
Obviuosly, we could avoid the need to go abroad and purchase organs if donations were more prevalent in the US. This could be accomplished by a better system of educating patients and their families of the benefits of organ donation along with a national campaign to enlighten the general public of the staggering need and benefits that could be derived by donation.
Thus, assisting to avoid the sale or illegal procurement of organs.
Being in the medical field, I see many opportunties for donations that go wasted
by lack of prior knowledge and understading of the procedures for organs donation in general.
The orgization that could assit with this campagin is the National Organ Procurement and Transplatation Network (OPTN). All hospitals are required by law to have a "Required Referral" system in place. Under this system, the hospital must notify the local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) of all patient deaths.
If all patients entering the hospital were required to become educated on the need for organs and then asked to consider becoming an organ donor we could possibly increase donations begin to meet this need.

tim writes:

ok so it is illegal to sell a kidney. but the doctor and the hospital and all the other systems in place get payed. mmmm lets see if the doctor and hospital would do this for free then ill give my organs for free. i do not thank so the hospital makes money the doctor makes money the national organ procurement and transplatation network make money. they want to keep all the money for there self. if they want to do so much good. then do it all for free do not put it all on the living organ donor.

DARIEN writes:

Hell i would sell my kidney if I could I am very healthy,for one everyone is standing to make some thing from it but me.

craig clark writes:

does no one see the intrinsic evil inherent in this topic? granted i came here because my 'economic back' is against the wall, but the ethics of the issue is not addressed, not even broached--what kind of site is this? we've all become either whores or vampires...God save us...

jimi writes:

to darien.

my mom need an urgent kidney transplant.

Rahul writes:

Urgent for SomeOne Who Need a says:
I'm 25 years old male. No drugs n no drinks. willing to donate kidney to person who will pay for time, pain and suffering, travel and all medical bills.I'm in Himachal Pradesh,India. healthy B+ Blood. You can contact me at my cell no-09816733278
Or E-mail to me - rahul_sb_007 @yahoo.com
Plz dont treat it fake n plz only serious person only contact.
Its urgent.

GEO writes:

Hi guys I need a kidney I am 29 years old where can I go to get kidney transplant !!!!
Blood A+

you can mail me kantisgrr@hotmail.com

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