PITTSBURGH-With the success of Kidney transplants, the 5ounce organ has become so sought-after around the world that poor people in India will sell one of their own for several thousand dollars, according to a published report.

The average price is more than $13,000. The Pittsburgh Press reported Sunday in the first of a six part series. The Press arrived at the figure by conducting interviews in 23 countries over a 10month period with people who have bought and sold the organs.

“Ina poor country, some people survive by selling blood. They can get more from kidneys,” said Major Vijay Bhatnagar, an Indian organ broker.

The human body can function on one kidney.

Dr. Roy Caine, a founding father of kidney transplantation, said the industry needs to be regulated “before there is a major, deeply entrenched criminal side to it.”

Last year, while almost 10,000 Americans underwent dialysis while awaiting transplants, at least 300 US. Transplant centers.

Although the U.S. kidney transplant system is a $2 billion industry funded through Medicare, government officials have failed to closely watch it, according to the paper.

The U.S. Health Care Financing Administration, which oversees the system, has no exact figures on kidneys exported each year and cannot explain why organs leave the country while Americans await transplants, according to The Press.

Surgeons and procurement specialists say the exported kidneys were surplus or compromised organs for which no US. Recipient was available, the newspaper said.

Most exported kidneys last year went to Great Britain, Kuwait, Turkey and Japan.

In those exchanges, the wealthiest patients, not necessarily the sickest, received kidneys, according to the paper.

Trafficking in organs from living donors is not illegal in India, as it is in the United States. In all but one Indian state, cultural taboos block use of kidneys from cadavers.

Recently, a poor, 40 year old Bombay woman sold one of her kidneys to the parents of a Saudi student who went to India looking for a kidney for their son, The Press reported.

Ratan Koli had run a newspaper ad offering one of her kidneys for about $7,000.

Now her husband, Sanna Koli, is looking for a buyer for one of his kidneys.

His price tag also is $7,000. Mrs. Koli’s kidney paid for household appliances and necessities. Koli intends to buy his family’s passage from the slums.

Article extracted from this publication >>  November 8, 1985