The economics of organ donation

Organ donation not only saves lives, it makes economic sense. That’s the latest argument from the organisation promoting organ donation in Switzerland, where 1,400 people are on the organ waiting list. (SRF/

This content was published on June 24, 2015 - 14:55

For some people an organ donation is their only hope for survival. But compared with other European countries, the Swiss don’t do well. Switzerland has a donor rate of 14.2 donors per million inhabitants. Among  neighbouring countries, only Germany has lower rates. 

Two years ago the Swiss authorities and Swisstransplant, the foundation promoting organ donation, launched an action plan to train medical staff and better inform the public. 

In March over 1,000 patients were waiting for a kidney. Those who can’t get one, have to have their blood purified on dialysis, a treatment that removes all toxic substances from the blood. It takes four hours and patients have three such treatments every week. There are over 80 dialysis units in Switzerland. 

Potentially nearly a million francs could be saved per patient when the costs of dialysis and transplants are compared. But that would require more donors. People wanting to become donors fill in a donor card. They then carry it with them at all times. 

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