California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Court Will Not Revisit Ruling on Payment for Bone Marrow Donors

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court declined the Obama administration's request to reconsider a ruling that allows payments to individuals who donate bone marrow, AP/U-T San Diego reports (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/27).


The 1984 National Organ Transplant Act prohibits donor payment for bone marrow but permits compensation for blood, sperm and egg donations.

In December 2011, a three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it remains a felony to compensate donors for undergoing an older transplant method that extracts marrow from the hip.

However, it also ruled that a new technology that extracts bone marrow cells from donors' bloodstream is not covered by the law because the process is nearly identical to donating blood (California Healthline, 12/5/11).

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a petition asking the full court to review the ruling. However, none of the 25 active judges on the 9th Circuit took up the petition. The administration is concerned that allowing compensation for bone marrow donations could influence donation decisions.

The U.S. Solicitor General now has 90 days to decide whether to petition the Supreme Court to review the decision (Williams, Los Angeles Times, 3/28).

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