Moves to combat "transplant tourism", in which patients from rich countries pay large sums to have organ transplants in poor ones, are gaining pace, experts have told an international conference. The World Health Organisation and the European Union have led the way in tackling the problem, the Madrid conference on organ donations and transplants heard this week. "Stopping the illegal trafficking of organs and ending transplant tourism is an objective shared by all countries," Spanish Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said. "The European Union has a harmonized model in which no one puts a price on an organ, and the WHO is making a great effort to spread this model," she added.
Rafael Matesanz, the head of the Spain's national transplant organisation, said efforts to curb transplant tourism "began in 2005 with the very decisive action of the World Health Organisation and the international Transplantation Society to establish laws in the countries where it does not exist."

In the past, “medical tourists” — those who travel overseas to have procedures done — typically were wealthy. But with many consumers’ budgets strapped and the rising cost of medical care, a growing number of Americans are traveling elsewhere to have operations and procedures in an attempt to save money.

An estimated 750,000 Americans traveled out of the United States for medical care in 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Care Solutions. The center expects that number to have spiked to 6 million people by this year. Countries like India, Thailand, and certain countries in Europe and Central America, have become medical tourism hot spots, but before jumping on a plane to head overseas, the national Financial Planning Association urges consumers to conduct some financial due diligence.

Source Eturbonews



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