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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Customs Vows to Allow Blood Exports

The Federal Customs Service vowed to lift a ban on exporting human blood and tissue abroad -- a restriction doctors say could cost the lives of patients waiting for organ transplants -- but leading courier agencies said the ban was still in place.

The Health and Social Development Ministry said last week that the ban concerned only major shipments of blood and human tissue and would not affect ordinary patients, but courier companies DHL and TNT-Express said all such exports had been banned by customs officials without explanation.

Andrei Belyaninov, the head of the Federal Customs Service, said Friday that his agency would allow the export of "biological objects necessary for providing emergency aid," a statement on the service's web site said. He said restricting exports of biological materials was necessary to prevent trade in human organs.

Representatives of the two courier services said over the weekend that the restriction was still in place, however.