Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Trump Administration Withdraws Proposed Ban on Compensation for Bone Marrow

After the Ninth Circuit ruled that compensation for blood stem cells (sometimes simply referred to as bone marrow) could be compensated in some cases, the department of Health and Human Services moved to reinstate the ban.  (I coauthored one of many of the public comments they received "in opposition to the proposed rule changes by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that would ban compensation for bone marrow donations.")

On August 1 the new administration (which hasn't done much else that I approve of)  withdrew the proposed rule change (which I gather should leave the Ninth Circuit decision as the law of the land).

Here's a news story and an editorial (the only reports I've seen so far).

First the story (which seems to incorrectly attribute the administrative agency behind the move to the Office of Management and the Budget instead of to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Trump Administration Withdraws Proposed Obama Ban on Compensation for Bone Marrow

"The Office of Management and Budget has withdrawn a proposed rule banning compensation for hematopoietic stem cells. In other words, you can get paid when someone harvests stem cells from your bone marrow.
Bone marrow transplantation is used to treat a variety of ailments, including aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, bone marrow damage during chemotherapy, and blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. In 1984, Congress passed the National Organ and Transplant Act, which outlawed compensation to the donors of solid organs like kidneys and livers. Oddly, the act also defined renewable bone marrow as a solid organ.

Originally, hematopoietic stem cells were obtained from bone marrow obtained by inserting a needle into donors' hip bones. Researchers later developed a technique in which donors are treated with substance that overstimulates the production of hematopoietic stem cells, which then circulate in their bloodstreams. In a process similar to blood donation, the hematopoietic stem cells are then filtered from the donors' blood. The red blood cells and plasma are returned to the donors.
More Marrow Donors, a California-based nonprofit, wanted to set up a system to encourage hematopoietic stem cell donations with $3,000 awards, in the form of scholarships, housing allowances, or gifts to charity. The Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, brought suit on their behalf, and in 2012 a federal appeals court sensibly ruled that the law's ban on compensation for solid organ donations did not apply to stem cells obtained from donors' bloodstreams. The Obama administration reacted by proposing a regulation defining stem cells obtained from blood as the equivalent of a solid organ.
Now the new administration has withdrawn the proposal."
Here's the editorial, from yesterday's WSJ:
Money for Marrow, Finally

"last week the Department of Health and Human Services withdrew a proposed Obama -era regulation that would have prohibited compensation for bone-marrow donation. About 11,000 ailing Americans are currently searching the national marrow registry, hoping to find a compatible donor. This year at least 3,000 people will die waiting for a transplant."

Here are my previous posts on bone marrow donation and the compensation controversy.

HT: Philip Held and Frank McCormick

1 comment:

Highgamma said...

Finally! Sanity prevails.