The impact of country reimbursement programmes on living kidney donations

Abu Bakkar Siddique, Vandana Apte, Sigrid Fry-Revere, Yanhong Jin, Naoru Koizumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Living-donor kidney transplantation is the gold standard treatment for patients with end-stage kidney disease. However, potential donors ubiquitously face financial as well as logistical barriers. To remove these disincentives from living kidney donations, the governments of 23 countries have implemented reimbursement programmes that shift the burdens of non-medical costs from donors to the governments or private entities. However, scientific evidence for the effectiveness of these programmes is scarce. The present study investigates whether these reimbursement programmes designed to ease the financial and logistical barriers succeeded in increasing the number of living kidney donations at the country level. The study examined within-country variations in the timing of such reimbursement programmes. Method The study applied the difference-in-difference (two-way panel fixed-effect) technique on the Poisson distribution to estimate the effects of these reimbursement programmes on a 17 year long (2000-2016) dataset covering 109 countries where living donor kidney transplants were performed. Results The results indicated that reimbursement programmes have a statistically significant positive effect. Overall, the model predicted that reimbursement programmes increased country-level donation numbers by a factor of 1.12-1.16. Conclusion Reimbursement programmes may be an effective approach to alleviate the kidney shortage worldwide. Further analysis is warranted on the type of reimbursement programmes and the ethical dimension of each type of such programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002596
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 13 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • health economics
  • health policy
  • other study design


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