Regular readers will recall that I’ve blogged here before about Reverse Transplant Tourism (RTT), a new form of cross border kidney paired donation that Mike Rees and I propose in a recently published article. RTT leverages the substantial cost savings of transplantation over dialysis to pay for immunosuppressant drugs for a foreign recipient, in exchange for an agreement to enter into a kidney swap or NEAD (non-simultaneous, extended, altruistic donor) chain. The transaction is fairly complex, but I give a reasonably short and easy to understand summary in the posts linked below if you want a better understanding of RTT and its benefits.
Well, I am pleased to report that the first RTT took place in a series of transplants arranged by Mike Rees here in the US and Don Paloyo in the Philippines!
You can watch the video about Jose and Kristine below:
I can attest from first hand observation that this first RTT had to overcome major hurdles before getting off the ground. Dozens of folks dedicated time, money, and expertise to make it happen. But as we state in our paper, and Mike reiterates in the video, RTT cannot survive on philanthropy alone. In order to be sustainable, the insurance companies and (eventually) Medicare – who save thousands of dollars from each RTT transplant – have to fund RTT and other transplant innovations in order to really make a dent in the ever-growing waitlist.
HT: Al Roth for the video
You can also read my prior posts about RTT here:
And you can download the article here.