For Kidney Donations, Should the Market Decide?

Medically, kidney transplants have now become relatively routine. But there is a huge shortage of kidneys available for transplantation. The wait for a kidney can stretch for years. People die waiting for one — more than 4,000 in the United States alone last year.

A recent editorial in The Economist magazine suggested that instead of making it illegal for people to sell their kidneys, governments should permit it: even license and encourage it.

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Daniel Franklin, executive editor of The Economist, who says that legalizing the individual sale of kidneys would help. Legalizing the process, he says, would end a black market for the organs.

The key, Franklin says, would be "a robust system of regulation."

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