Norberto Papa, left, and Napoleon Custodio reveal their scars from a kidney operation in
Manila, Philippines.

Philippines Restricts Organ Transplants to Foreigners

May 05, 2008 12:01 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Faced with a growing number of poor people selling their organs to patients from foreign countries, the Philippines bans most transplants to nonresidents.

30-Second Summary

Anyone who goes to the Philippines for an organ transplant from a nonrelative could now face up to 20 years in prison, the country’s health secretary has announced. According to AFP, the Philippine Society of Nephrology calls the country “a world ‘hotspot’ for human organ trafficking.”

In the United States alone, nearly 100,000 people are waiting for organ transplants.

Rupert Wingfield Hayes of the BBC went undercover in China looking for a liver. When he asks hospital officials where one would come from, he learns there will be “a sudden abundance of organs” after a scheduled increase in prisoner executions.

The debate continues as to whether organs should be sold in the United States, something that’s been prohibited since 1984. Harold Kyriazi, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School who runs his own site,, says allowing sales would increase the supply by 200 percent.

Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez, in the article “Kidneys for Sale,” say an organ market would be “unjust” because it would “benefit the wealthy while putting pressures on the poor to endanger their own health.”

Headline Links: The Philippines ban organ transplants for foreigners

Opinion & Analysis: Arguments for and against organ sales

Background: Organ transplant, waiting list statistics

Related Topic: Surgeon accused of hastening death for organs


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