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Colombia: Law on Presumptive Organ Donation

(Sept. 6, 2016) On August 4, 2016, Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, promulgated a new law on organ donations. (Ley 1805 Modifica la Ley 73 de 1988 y la Ley 919 de 2004 en Materia de Donación de Componentes Anatómicos y se Dictan Otras Disposiciones [Law 1805, Amending Law 73 of 1988 and Law 919 of 2004 in Matters Related to Donation of Anatomic Components and Other Norms] (Aug. 4, 2016), NORMATIVA (in Spanish).)

The law provides that all Colombians to be organ donors unless they have expressed their refusal to do so. Anyone may reject the legal presumption of being an organ or tissue donor by stating so in a written document that must be notarized and recorded at the National Institute of Health.  Another way of rejecting the presumption of being a donor is by doing so at the time of enrollment in the Empresa Promotora de Salud (Health Insurance and Social Security Management Entity), which reports such declarations to the National Institute of Health.  (Santos Sancionó la Ley que Hace Obligatoria Donación de Organos, NOTICIAS CARACOL (Aug. 9, 2016).)

According to government statistics, only 2% of the patients on waiting lists actually succeed in obtaining an organ transplant. Currently there are approximately 2,000 people in Colombia waiting for organ transplants.  (Id.)  Organs in high demand are the lung, heart, kidney, pancreas, liver, intestines, cornea, skin, veins, arteries, tendons, and bones.  (Por Una Nueva Ley, en Colombia Es Obligatoria la Donación de Organos, LA NACIÓN (Aug. 9, 2016).)

The new law abolishes the requirement of having a family member consent to the organ donation and provides for imprisonment of up to six years upon conviction for persons involved in organ trafficking. (Id.)