Episode 4: Why Can’t I Buy A Kidney?

Episode 4: Why Can’t I Buy a Kidney?

It can take years to get to the top of the waiting list for a donated kidney in the US. So when Sally Satel found out she’d need a kidney transplant in 2004, she wondered why she couldn’t just buy one. We’ll hear from a behavioral economist and a bioethicist who shed light on the history of the ban on organ sales. They also reexamine whether it’s possible to create an ethical compensation program for organs in the US.

About the Experts

In addition to Sally Satel, this episode features interviews with:

Jeffrey Kahn

Andreas C. Dracopolous Director
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

Mario Macis

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

Additional Resources

This episode references the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA), passed in 1984. This act established the national Organ Procurement & Transplantation Network (OPTN), which is operated by an outside contractor, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). 

The OPTN has its own ethics committee that has written guiding principles that influence how organs are allocated in the US. You can read this guidance here

Discussion Questions

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Suggested Readings

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