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Body Parts Scandal Extends Outside the US

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It now appears that over 25 hospitals in the United Kingdom have received stolen tissue which is the subject of criminal investigations and a widespread public health scare in the US. Body parts taken by New Jersey-based Biomedical Tissue Services has been recalled and the UK media now reports that 82 pieces of bone from BTS grafted on to patients needing hip or jaw operations tissue had been exported to Britain last year.

“There’s a potential psychological impact on patients who have been the unwitting recipients of these tissues,” said Professor Stephen Wigmore, chair of the ethics committee of the British Transplantation Society. “No one would want to think they’d received tissue from someone from whom it had been taken against their will.”

At present, there are no laws governing the import and export of human body parts into the UK. Though such laws exist to prohibit the transport of organs between countries, there is no comparable regulation for body parts.