(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The government, through the Treasury, has for the first time agreed to
participate in the costs of non-profit bone marrow databanks.
stipulation was included in a private members’ bill – approved on Monday for its
second and third/final reading by the Knesset Labor, Wealth and Health Committee
– to regulate such databases.
The committee’s chairman, MK Haim Katz,
said it would not approve the bill – which was initiated by MKs Amir Peretz,
Zevulun Orlev and Ze’ev Bielski – before the Treasury agreed to help cover the
costs of such facilities, which find compatible matches for people needing
treatment for certain cancers.
The cost of carrying out tests on saliva
or blood samples and processing them (usually abroad) to find compatible donors
is very high.
As the Treasury was in favor of the bill to regulate the
databases, Treasury budgets division official Yair Zilberstein agreed that the
government would contribute to their upkeep and said NIS 5 million would be
allocated for 2011. The money will be transferred within eight months, he said,
but Health Ministry associate director-general Dr. Boaz Lev said he would
push to speed this up. In 2012, the Treasury would pay NIS 2.5m., but in 2013,
the sum would be “determined by need” and required approval of the Finance and
When the law is approved, such databanks will be
permitted to operate only after receiving approval from the Health Ministry
They would be bound by laws regarding privacy and no
sample could be taken without consent in writing. Samples could be taken only
from the age of 17, except when used for a family member, and a minor could not
be registered as a potential donor for someone who is not a relative.
Bracha Zisser, who runs the Ezer Mizion bone marrow databank, said it was “an
historic decision” that would help the voluntary organizations to survive.