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Stakes and Kidneys: Why Markets in Human Body Parts are Morally Imperative; Kidney for Sale by Owner: Human Organs, Transplantation, and the Market

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7514.460 (Published 18 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:460
  1. Ewen Harrison, research fellow,
  2. Steve McNally, specialist registrar,
  3. John Forsythe, consultant surgeon (john.forsythe@luht.scot.nhs.uk)
  1. department of surgery, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
  2. south east of Scotland general surgical rotation, Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline
  3. Edinburgh

    Stakes and Kidneys: Why Markets in Human Body Parts are Morally Imperative


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    James Stacey Taylor

    Ashgate, £16.99, pp 236 ISBN 07546 4110 4 http://www.ashgate.com/

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    Kidney for Sale by Owner: Human Organs, Transplantation, and the Market


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    Mark J Cherry

    Georgetown University Press, $26.95, pp 274 ISBN 1 58901 040 X http://www.press.georgetown.edu/

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    In a television interview in 2000, the Nobel prize winning economist and libertarian Milton Friedman remarked, “The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” This succinct analysis of free market capitalism is taken to heart in two new volumes that reignite the fraught debate on the ethical issues surrounding the buying and selling of human organs for transplantation.

    This is not just armchair ethical discussion. In 2002 a retired London general practitioner was struck off the medical register for revealing to an undercover journalist that a kidney could be obtained from a live donor for a fee (BMJ 2002;325: 510). Dr Bhagat Singh Makkar told the reporter, posing as the son of a man with end stage renal failure, that there would be “no problem” arranging the procedure in the United Kingdom, India, or Germany. Commentators were united in their condemnation of his actions, a reaction reflecting a deep seated belief held among most concerned parties (including the BMA and the British Transplantation Society) that trading in human organs …

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