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European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation: Opt - out solution would double number of organ donors in Germany

  • 05/09/2019
  • Press Release
  • 63 percent of Germans and 75 percent of Britons would be organ donors if they were automatically signed up from birth – de facto only 36 percent of Germans and 38 percent of Britons have a donor card today.

  • In European countries with an opt-out solution, half of the population criticises the German system, and many of them consider organ donation to be an obligation.

  • 21 percent of German citizens do not want to donate their organs because they are afraid of being declared dead too quickly.

  • This was the result of the representative STADA Health Report 2019*, for which 18,000 respondents in nine European countries were surveyed on the ‘Future of Health’.

Bad Vilbel, 5 September 2019 – The 'European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation' will take place on 12th October with the motto ‘You have all it takes. Have you considered becoming a donor?’ Currently, only 36 percent of German citizens have an organ donor card1). That means only about a third of all Germans have ‘all it takes’ to save lives. However, 63 percent of Germans would be donors if they were automatically signed up for this status at birth. A similar pattern can be seen in the UK, where the ‘consent solution’ also exists. However, a new law in 2020 will change this for the British.2) Half of all Europeans from countries with an opt-out solution criticise the active system.

After the UK introduces the opt-out solution in 2020, Germany will be one of the last European countries with a consent solution for organ donation. Consequently, this leaves a large, untapped potential of organ donors in the UK (for now) and Germany3). The 63 percent of potential organ donors in Germany consist of the following: To 46 percent of German citizens organ donation simply makes sense, so they would not opt out. Another 17 percent would retain their donor status because they basically do not care what happens to them after they die. In the UK, the 75 percent of potential organ donors are similar: 55 percent feel that organ donation makes sense and the other 20 percent simply do not care what happens to them after they die.

Opt-out solution already widespread in Europe
In countries that already use an opt-out solution, the number of organ donors is higher. That solution already exists in the other countries that were studied in the Health Report (Poland, Russia, Serbia, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium). Almost half of the respondents there criticise the consent system in Germany and the UK: 22 percent are sure that many potential organ donors are missed this way, and another 24 percent simply consider organ donation to be their duty. The other half supports the ‘active’ system and argues that willingness to donate organs should not be presumed. In Serbia 68 percent of respondents agree with that opinion.

Fear of being declared dead too quickly
Assuming that the opt-out solution was also applied in Germany and the UK, 37 percent of German citizens and 25 percent of people in the UK would exercise it. Why? 21 percent of Germans are afraid of being declared dead too quickly. 13 percent of Britons share this fear. Another eight percent of Germans and five percent of Britons would opt out because they do not want criminals to potentially receive their organs.


*About the STADA Health Report 2019
The survey for the STADA Health Report 2019 was carried out by the market research institute Kantar Health on behalf of STADA Arzneimittel AG. The 18,000 respondents were comprised of approximately 2,000 people from each country: Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain and the United Kingdom. Further information on the STADA Health Report and much more can be found at:

About STADA Arzneimittel AG

STADA Arzneimittel AG is a listed company with registered office in Bad Vilbel, Hesse. The company’s strategy is based on two distinct lines consisting of generic products, including special pharmaceuticals, and prescription-free consumer health products. STADA Arzneimittel AG sells its products in about 120 countries worldwide. In the 2018 financial year, STADA achieved adjusted Group sales of EUR 2,330.8 million and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR 503.5 million. As of 31 December 2018, STADA employed 10,416 people worldwide.


1) Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (Federal Centre for Health Education.) Info sheet: Awareness, attitude and conduct of the general population (14 to 75 years) about organ and tissue donation. Cologne, 2018., last accessed on: 07/08/2019)

2) Note regarding the UK draft bill: England and Scotland (amended legislation adopted, opt-out solution to start on 2020), Wales (opt-out solution) and Northern Ireland (consent solution)

3) Department of Health and Social Care. News story: Opt.out organ donation: Max und Keira’s bill passed into law, 15/03/2019 (last accessed on: 07/08/2019)


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Angela Horbach
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STADA Infographic Organ Donaiton