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Doctors, Government May Allow Payment for Organs
Reuters Health
Feb 14, 2002

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The medical community and the federal government are edging closer to allowing payment for body parts needed for transplants, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Such compensation was outlawed by Congress in 1984, but with 79,000 people awaiting transplants, a committee of the American Medical Association has begun designing a pilot program to test the effects of various motivators, including payments for organ donations from cadavers, the Journal said.

The committee, the AMA's influential Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, is already convinced that any moral concerns about payments for organs are outweighed by the needs of patients, the Journal said.

The AMA's governing house of delegates is slated to vote on whether to support such a pilot in June, the Journal said.

An advisory committee to US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson is also considering whether to recommend that the ban on payments be lifted for organs from cadavers and live donors as a way to alleviate the organ shortage, the Journal said.

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons has already endorsed payment for cadaveric organs to the families of the deceased, the Journal said.

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