Whole-Body Donation Businesses Are Flourishing, But With Them Come Fears Of ‘Back Alley Grave Robbers’
Few state or federal rules exist governing body donation facilities, raising questions about what the donors and their families are getting themselves into. "There's a price list for everything from a head to a shoulder, like they are a side of beef," lawyer Michael Burg said. "They make money, absolutely, because there's no cost in getting the bodies." The Arizona Republic looks at the burgeoning industry in its state.
Arizona Is A Hotbed For The Cadaver Industry, And Potential Donors Have Plenty Of Options
Approximately 4,000 people — about 7% of the people who die in Arizona each year — are whole body donors, which is roughly five times the national average based on 39 reporting states, the Illinois-based Cremation Association of North America says. The American Association of Tissue Banks has accredited seven non-transplant human tissue banks in the United States, and four of them, including Research for Life, are headquartered in Arizona. (Innes, 6/10)
Despite 2-Year-Old State Law, Arizona's Body Donation Industry Still Unregulated
The state law says that body donation companies are not allowed to operate in Arizona without a state license. Licensing of the companies, which are also known as nontransplant human tissue banks, could begin in 2020, the Health Department says. Health officials say the delay is tied to technical issues with the law and a state decision to put a higher priority on combating the opioid crisis. So right now, there's no local oversight over Arizona businesses that accept the bodies of people after they die and then typically dismember and sell them to various entities, including pharmaceutical and medical device companies. (Innes, 6/10)