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Beijing Approves 13 Hospitals for Organ Transplant Surgery
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The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau has approved an initial group of 13 hospitals to carry out human organ transplants, two months after China's first regulations on transplants came into effect, prohibiting the trade of human organs.

The list includes Beijing Anzhen Hospital for heart and lung transplants, the China-Japan Friendship Hospital for liver, kidney and lung transplants and the Beijing Union Medical College Hospital for liver and kidney transplants.

The bureau had listed the hospitals and the type of transplants they could perform on its website between June 11 and June 24 to solicit public opinions.

"No other medical institutions are allowed to carry out human organ transplants without approval from the local health authorities. If they do, they will be punished according to the law," a bureau statement said.

Other Chinese provinces, municipalities and regions, such as Heilongjiang, Shanghai and Shandong, have also drawn up lists of approved hospital as required by the Ministry of Health.

About 600 hospitals nationwide submitted applications to continue to perform transplant operations but the Ministry of Health announced in April that only an initial group of 160 medical institutions would receive a license.

Experts believe the new approval system will help standardize human organ transplant surgery, help medical institutions improve their services and guarantee benefits for patients.

The country faces a huge gap between the demand and supply. About 1.5 million people need transplants each year, but only 10,000 can find organs, according to the Ministry of Health.

The government had to unify organ transplant standards or the country would be "in a mess," Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu has said.

The country's first set of regulations on human organ transplants, which prohibits organizations and individuals from trading human organs in any form, went into effect on May 1.

(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2007)

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