The Health Ministry in Philippines is considering a ban on kidney transplant operations on foreign patients in a bid to clamp down on the organ trade in that country.
The new rule will ban kidney transplants to foreign patients in cases where the living donor is a Filipino who is not a blood relation, they said.
AdvertisementIt will effectively make permanent a temporary suspension of transplants to foreigners that was implemented last month while the authorities crafted new guidelines for donations.
The announcement will not cover transplants from living relatives, nor the harvesting of kidneys from the dead, the sources added.
The Philippines is a world "hotspot" for human organ trafficking, according to the Philippine Society of Nephrology, whose members are renal specialists.
The medical profession and the dominant Roman Catholic Church have raised concerns over the rampant trafficking of kidneys from impoverished and poorly educated Filipino "donors."
They can sell one of the organs for about 3,000 dollars to Arab or Western recipients.
A total of 436 kidney transplants from unrelated living donors were carried out in 2006 in 24 Philippine hospitals, according to government figures.
In that same period there were 36 transplants from deceased donors.