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Dutch hospitals to drop U.S. body brokers, cite ethical concerns

Published: December 9, 2018
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Source: Reuters

AMSTERDAM - Two major Dutch hospitals say they will stop importing human body parts from American firms, which they have been doing without any regulation for a decade.

The hospitals told Reuters in recent weeks they made their decisions on ethical grounds. The move comes amid investigations by U.S. law enforcement into some so-called body brokers - companies that obtain the dead, often through donation, dissect them and sell the parts for profit.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that one broker under scrutiny by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation - Portland, Oregon-based MedCure - has used a Dutch hub to distribute tens of thousands of kilograms of human body parts across Europe since 2012. U.S. authorities suspect MedCure sold body parts tainted with disease to American and foreign customers, a concern triggered in part by such shipments to Canada and Hong Kong, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Reuters found that importers of U.S. body parts included two Dutch hospitals. The news agency uncovered no evidence body parts used in the Netherlands were infected, but the Dutch hospitals said they would drop the suppliers in response to reporting by Reuters which raised questions about how the brokers acquired body donations.

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