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A “Queen of Hearts” trial of organ markets: why Scheper-Hughes’s objections to markets in human organs fail
  1. J S Taylor
  1. Correspondence to:
 J S Taylor
 Department of Philosophy, The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, PO Box 7718, Ewing, NJ 08628-0718, USA;jtaylor{at}


Nancy Scheper-Hughes is one of the most prominent critics of markets in human organs. Unfortunately, Scheper-Hughes rejects the view that markets should be used to solve the current (and chronic) shortage of transplant organs without engaging with the arguments in favour of them. Scheper-Hughes’s rejection of such markets is of especial concern, given her influence over their future, for she holds, among other positions, the status of an adviser to the World Health Organization (Geneva) on issues related to global transplantation. Given her influence, it is important that Scheper-Hughes’s moral condemnation of markets in human organs be subject to critical assessment. Such critical assessment, however, has not generally been forthcoming. A careful examination of Scheper-Hughes’s anti-market stance shows that it is based on serious mischaracterisations of both the pro-market position and the medical and economic realities that underlie it. In this paper, the author will expose and correct these mischaracterisations and, in so doing, show that her objections to markets in human organs are unfounded.

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  • Competing interests: I have no competing interests to declare.

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