Spain continues to be the world leader in organ donations and transplants despite the country's economic woes, the director of the National Transplant Organization, or ONT, said Tuesday.
With the figures available up to November, Spain maintains its world leadership after beating its own record last year with a total of 4,212 transplants.
Rafael Matesanz also said that transplants are not "a luxury therapy," particularly in the case of kidneys, which he said is one of the most cost-efficient treatments of all.
He commented at a press conference where he reported on the symposium "The Transplant in Times of Crisis" that the policy of cutbacks carried out to reduce the budget deficit has not yet affected transplants.
"Before they make indiscriminate cuts, its best to know what we can do without," Matesanz said.
In that regard, he said that at the request of the Health Ministry, further development of transplant centers is being planned.
Matesanz also noted that in Spain, transplants cost up to 10 times less than in the United States, since labor costs there are much higher and the Spanish system is more efficient.
The $1 million that a heart transplant costs in the United States or the $270,000 for a kidney transplant would cost in Spain around 90,000 euros ($117,000) and 30,000 euros ($39,000), respectivamente, he said.
Besides its world leadership in transplants, Spain also leads in the number of donors, 35.3 donors for every 1 million people, according to figures from 2011. EFE