Impact of Organ Transplantation on Economy

The average cost of a transplant is as follows:


Kidney--------------------$ 51,000



Heart/Lung---------------$210,000 (8 Email CTDN)

What is the implication on transplantation for the economy? Over 50,000 patients were hoping for organ transplants as of Feb. 7, 1997. If one takes an average cost for a transplant ($140,000) and multiplies that number by 50,000, seven billion dollars of health care services would have been generated. Earlier statistics showed that only 19,000 organ transplants were completed for the 50,000 on the waiting list. Multiplying 19,000 patients by an average of $140,000 per transplant generates $2.7 billion dollars of health services. To date, The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reveals 226 centers for kidney transplants, 106 centers for liver transplants, and 147 centers for heart transplants. (12 UNOS 1997 Report of Center Specific Organ Acceptance Rates)

State mandated benefits-specific coverage that health insurance policies must include-continue to increase even while some states try to make health insurance more accessible by passing laws that allow coverage of basic benefits only.

For example, Illinois mandates coverage for liver transplants and Georgia mandates coverage for heart transplants. (9 National Center for Policy Analysis) Health insurances are using cost effective health care. For example, dialysis patients cost approximately $50,000 a year , (depending on age), and kidney transplants cost upwards to $75,000 a year. Kidney transplant patients live a long time and costs are proportional to length of life. (10 The real cost of transplants )

According to Dr. D.White, founder of one of four small U.S. companies working on zeno transplantation, claims that pharmaceutical companies will be investing billions of dollars over the next few years on zenotransplantation. (11 Human Organ Farms) Dr. White, from Cambridge Medical University, co-founder of zenoplant company- Imutran, works with pig heart transplants. Dr. Platt, professor of experimental surgery at Duke University Medical School, works with the Nextran company on zenoplantation problems.(13 Access number: 02144568 - Periodical abstract - Journal of American Medical Association, Nov.2, 1994. by Jeffrey Prottas)

Zenotransplants are cross-species transplants. More biotechnology companies, besides Imutran and Nextran, are racing to develop pigs that could serve as organ donors for humans . The sale of pig organs would compliment the companies' existing businesses that sell immune suppressant drugs, blood products, and surgical instruments used for transplant operations. Analysts say that it is not unreasonable to expect the pig organs to sell for an average of $10,000 each. A billion market in annual sales is estimated in the next five years.



Affect on People's Lives

Economic Impact

Transplant History

Critical Technology

Impact of Technology

Limits & Benefits



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