Organ Transplantation and the European Union, 2009-2015 developments

Stefaan van der Spiegel*, Peter Schröder-Bäck, Helmut Brand

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article provides a high level picture of the developments in organ transplantation in the European Union (EU) between 2009 and 2015. This was the period during which the European Commission and EU-28 Member States developed an EU Action Plan on organ donation and transplantation. This plan was adopted by the European Commission in 2008, following calls for policy action to increase transplant numbers. It set out priority actions for Member States and European Commission to address. This article describes the three main approaches used by the European Commission and National Competent Authorities to develop this Action Plan. We also present a quantitative comparison of 2015 and 2008 transplant data, based on the Newsletter Transplant by the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Spanish National Transplant Agency (ONT). This comparison shows contributions of different EU Member States, as well as of different donation and transplant programs to the overall increase of 4597 transplants per year (+16.4%). While another evaluation study of the Action Plan reported a strong positive impact of the Action Plan, it is beyond the remit of this publication to demonstrate a causal relationship between the EU Action Plan and the increase in number of organ transplants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-611
Number of pages9
JournalTransplant International
Issue number6
Early online date25 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • European Union
  • donation and transplant programs
  • health policy
  • national competent authorities
  • organ availability

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