A new European Union law on organ transplants is nearing approval. It will be accompanied by an action plan to increase organ donations throughout the EU.
Current EU presiding nation Spain is a good example to follow, since it led the world in organ donations in 2009 for the 18th year in a row. A conference in Madrid has been held on boosting cooperation.
Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament’s Commitee on Health, Food Safety and the Environment, said: “At the moment, there are 56,000 patients waiting for a suitable organ donor in the EU, and it’s estimated that every day 12 people die while waiting for an organ transplant.”
Spanish donors of organs (34 per million people) almost double the European Union average (18), contrasting with the opposite end of the scale, Bulgaria, by 34-to-one.
The EU directive on “free and voluntary” organ donation could be approved by the European Parliament as early as May. Another of the directive’s aims is to fight organ trafficking and “transplant tourism”, in which patients who can pay go outside the EU for operations. Europe’s future legislation on organ donation will also cover aspects such as quality and safety, access and other practical implications.