Legislation To Regulate Tissue Donation Expected
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday announced that he is proposing legislation that would regulate tissue transplants and donations, Long Island Newsday reports. The majority of tissue now comes from hospitals, though it is not illegal for funeral homes to sell tissue (Ochs, Long Island Newsday, 1/24).
However, Schumer's legislation would make it illegal for tissue banks to purchase tissue, bone and muscle from funeral homes or morgues, with exceptions for types of tissue in short supply. Schumer also would tighten FDA oversight by requiring the agency to make unannounced visits to tissue banks at least once a year (Livingston, New York Post, 1/24).
FDA now inspects tissue banks "as needed," Newsday reports. Schumer's proposal also would put limitations on charges for processing tissue.
In a letter to FDA last week, Schumer expressed concern about reports of a Brooklyn, N.Y., funeral home selling body parts without consent to Fort Lee, N.J.-based Biomedical Tissue Services. FDA in October 2005 sent a letter recalling the tissue (Long Island Newsday, 1/24).
According to the New York Post, Schumer said that there is "virtually no accountability' in tissue transplants, though organ transplants and donations are "highly regulated" (New York Post, 1/24).