In response to the HTA’s “Position Statement” (the statement) and NHS Blood and Transplant’s ( NHS BT) additional comment.
The statement suggests that Organtree is acting illegally and that those who register with it to donate or receive organs may also be acting illegally.
These serious allegations are untrue and amount to scaremongering of the worst sort. The particular comment made by Sally Johnson of NHS BT alleges that Organtree is offering payment for organ donation is both ill informed and unfounded. It is notable that she does not refer to any extract contained in the website in order to support her comments.
The role and responsibility of Organtree is clearly set out on our website. Organtree is not receiving any payment for any organ donation. It only exists to provide a platform so that would be donors can register their interest in their organs being used after they die. Organtree was supposed to charge a small administration fee (30€) to register, which was meant to cover the cost of advertising and marketing, however since its inception and until now Organtree has never charged any administration fee and has no intentions to do so in the near future, but unlike the NHS, offers to register donors and potential recipients from all over the world, thus vastly increasing the possibility of matching donors and recipients. Organtree is not involved at all in any subsequent matching process.
Organtree’s platform function makes such important information available to those authorised by their countries ”Human Tissue Authority” or similar regulatory authority to carry out organ transplants. The medical personnel concerned will be able to link the details of potential donors and recipients to increase the possibility of a person in need receiving a matching organ both quickly and potentially from any part of the world. This is the first time that there has been a worldwide effort to increase the amount of donors and we believe that this will greatly assist those in need.
Organtree offers free registration to medical clinics and their personnel but only to those who are authorised by their countries ”Human Tissue Authority” or similar regulatory authority to carry out organ transplants. Organtree does not receive any fee from them even if a donation is carried through. However Organtree does require them to confirm they are suitably registered and will carry out their work in accordance with the prevailing law in their country of operation and with due respect to ethical considerations including confidentiality.
Beneficiaries of the deceased persons are included as part of the registration system, so that they (not Organtree) can ensure that the wishes of the deceased are carried through. It is acknowledged and accepted that offering a reward is illegal but receiving expenses associated with the death of a loved one is not. The HTA’s interpretation of the prevailing law is different to ours but it does not make their view correct.
Organtree is an innovative and exciting venture making use of modern technology and progressively pointing the way to governments, who have miserably failed to increase the amount of potential donors or to limit the illegal organ trading, a way forward to meet this terrible lack of help to those most in need. Rather than reflect on positive ideas to help alleviate the worldwide need the regulatory body in the UK has chosen to make threats rather than grasp a positive way forward. We believe that most people whether or not in need of such help would like to see more potential donors come forward and more actual transplants take place in an open and transparent way.