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Illegal organ transplants overhaul
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09:40, August 13, 2009

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China launched an overhaul targeting illegal organ transplants, after reports surfaced that some hospitals were illegally doing organ surgeries for foreigners.

The spokesperson of Ministry of Health said, any medical institutions could have their licenses revoked if they cannot pass the ongoing qualification re-examination, according to China Daily on Thursday.

At present, 164 medical institutions in Chinese mainland are licensed to carry out organ transplants nationwide, of which 16 hospitals failed to comply with related regulations, the ministry said.

Under the National Organ Transplantation Committee and the ministry, an expert team will further evaluate other organ transplant practitioners.

Organ transplants in China are covered by the 2007 regulations that establish national oversight and credentials for Chinese transplant officials.

The regulations ban organ trade, organ trafficking and ��transplant tourism�� for foreigners and establish a national organ donation system that includes deceased and living donors.

Official estimates indicate that 2 million Chinese need organ transplants each year, but only 20,000 operations are performed because of a severe shortage of donors.

But still some hospitals sold organs to foreigners as a lucrative business. Three hospitals were penalized for illegally selling human organs to foreigners in 2008.

In February, the ministry launched an investigation into a report by Japan's Kyoto News that said 17 Japanese tourists each spent about 595,000 yuan ($87,000) for liver or kidney transplant operations at an unidentified hospital in Guangzhou.

Such an operation usually costs 100,000 yuan at licensed Chinese hospitals.

Source: Xinhua

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