Peter Liese: Medical urgency rather than financial aspects have to decide about donation / Violation of basic ethical principles undermines trust and harms the patients

Strasbourg - With a vast majority, the European Parliament today demanded to bindingly establish the principle of unpaid donation. In today's voting, the delegates primarily focused on cell and tissue transplantations because the laws in this field are less strict than for organ transplantations. The EU institutions had already established the principal of unpaid and voluntary organ donation as well as a legally explicit prohibition of organ trade in a directive in 2010.


"The scandal in Germany however shows that we have an implementation deficit concerning organ donations. In the field of cell and tissue transplants, which largely lacks public awareness, it looks even worse", says Peter Liese.

Over the last years, there have been numerous reports saying that money was officially paid for cell and tissue transplants, even supported by governmental institutions. For example, a British fertility clinic had imported embryos from Romania before the very eyes of the British authorities. Romanian women had been led to donate their eggs for a high amount of money (about half of an annual income). The eggs were then fertilized by sperm of British men and implanted into women in British fertility clinics.

At that time, the Commission had said they didn't have any legal hold against such actions. That's why the MEPs now on the one hand request the Member States to act more strictly and on the other hand demand the specification of the legislation. "The human body can not be commercialised. In transplantation medicine, not only organs, but also cells (for example bone marrow cells) have to be distributed according to medical necessity. Any financial influence has to be kept out if this by all means", says Peter Liese. In this connection the Christian Democratic MEP pointed to the current organ donation scandal and its consequences. Particularly angry was Liese regarding the vote of the Liberals in the European Parliament for whom the wording in the report were too hard and therefore did not support the report. "The organ transplant scandal in Germany shows that strict rules are necessary in order to assure people's trust in the transplantation system. Nothing is more damaging to the patients' health than scandals massively affecting the willingness to donate. Even after the scandal in Germany, I am keeping my organ donor card and promote organ donation as a sign of solidarity with patients and of Christian charity love for me personally. However, with the same vehemence, I fight for clear rules and their transposition in Germany and Europe. That is not conservative, but human and progressive", concludes Liese.

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