EU Adopts Legislation on Organ Transplantation

On 19 May 2010 the European Parliament adopted the draft Directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs Intended for transplantation (COM(2008)819 final), and an Action Plan on organ donation and transplantation for 2009-2015.

The shortage of organs is a major factor affecting transplantation programmes in Europe:  according to a Council of Europe report in 2007, nearly 56,000 patients are on waiting list. Donation rates systems, and consequently the availability of organs, vary considerably across the EU. Due to shortages, a rise in illegal organ trafficking is worrisome. The aim of the new Directive is to help increase the supply of donated organs from deceased and living donors, while enhancing the accessibility and efficiency of transplantation systems, and ensuring a high quality and safety level of the procedures.

The EU legislation does not make explicit reference to the role of patients’ organisations, so groups with an interest in organ donation and transplantation issues are encouraged to proactively engage with their national ministries of health to ensure that they are involved in the process of transposing the Directive.

More information is available in the July issue of our EPF mailing.