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February 11, 2014

UK medical tourism study highlights lack of information on health and financial risks

(IMTJ) – The final report of a two year UK study into medical tourism (“Implications for the NHS of inward and outward medical tourism”) was published this week and highlights the lack of information available to prospective patients on the health and financial risks of medical tourism.

February 10, 2014

Hi-tech healthcare on offer in growing Australian medical tourism market

( – Over the last decade Australians have been heading overseas in droves, to places like Thailand, India, South Korea and Malaysia for medical treatment. It’s often cheaper, and patients can combine a holiday with plastic surgery or dental work. But as Australians fly out, a growing number of medical tourists are flying in — from New Zealand, the United States and increasingly from Asia.

February 5, 2014

Medical tourists seeking treatment overseas without sufficient information and advice

(Science Codex) – A team of researchers has found that British people travelling abroad for medical treatment are often unaware of the potential health and financial consequences they could face. The researchers say this can, in some cases, have catastrophic effects for individual patients. At least 63,000 UK residents travel abroad for medical treatment each year. However, the study led by the University of York, and involving the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Royal Holloway University, the University of Birmingham and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, concludes that many people are embarking on medical tourism without understanding the risks involved.

January 17, 2014

In boost to fertility treatment, govt allows import of frozen embryos

India has allowed the import of human embryos for artificial reproduction, opening up what is expected to be a huge segment of the medical tourism market. The decision will allow foreign couples to bring in frozen human embryos and rent a surrogate womb in India for the baby to be born. The relaxed rules will also apply to other infertility-related treatment such as IVF. (Indian Express)

January 14, 2014

Medical tourism on the rise despite warnings

A new breed of tourist is taking the post-holiday glow to a new level and booking in for cosmetic surgery abroad. No official statistics are available on the number of Australians leaving the country for surgery, but Patients Beyond Borders, which publishes guides for such tourists, estimates that globally about 8 million patients go overseas for medical care – and that figure is growing about 15 to 25 per cent a year. (Sydney Morning Herald)

January 9, 2014

Switzerland: Swiss medical tourism continues to grow

Switzerland puzzles many in medical tourism as it keeps increasing medical tourism numbers despite having some of the highest prices in the world. Lianne van den Bos of Euromonitor International explains, “The continued high prices in Switzerland, when compared to neighbouring European countries, is offputting especially for European tourists who see Switzerland as a high price country. But tourists coming from China, Asia and Middle East are far more concerned about quality. (IMTJ)

December 31, 2013

More Alzheimer’s patients finding care far from home

Spouses and relatives in Western nations are increasingly confronting Kuratli’s dilemma as the number of Alzheimer’s patients and costs rise, and the supply of qualified nurses and facilities struggles to keep up. Faraway countries are offering cheaper, and to some minds better, care for those suffering from the irreversible loss of memory. (Seattle Times)

December 30, 2013

UK aims to cut costs by charging migrants, visitors for emergency room treatment

Britain’s government has announced plans to require migrants and international tourists to pay for emergency medical treatments. They would also require migrants and visitors to pay for minor surgery that takes place in doctors’ offices. The changes, along with other fee increases, are part of an overall plan to reduce “health tourism” and lessen the tax burden. (Associated Press)

Medical tourism market – Global industry analysis, size, share, growth trends and forecast, 2013-2019

The rise in healthcare costs in developed countries coupled with the availability of high quality medical services at lower prices in developing nations has driven expansion of the medical tourism industry. Moreover, the rise in the elderly population along with a growing number of uninsured people has further triggered the market growth. (Sacramento Bee)

December 23, 2013

Medical tourism – The imperfect market

Medical tourism is a global business driven by patients looking for the cheapest price….. So, goes the mantra still sold at conferences to wide-eyed politicians and businesses, seeing an easy way to make more money from their healthcare services. The only problem with this mantra is that medical tourism is not global, it is not a perfect market and customers do not flock to the lowest price country or hospital. India is one of lowest price countries in the world and it has gone from a medical tourism leader to a struggler, within five years. (IMTJ)

December 19, 2013

USA: How cosmetic surgeons must learn to live with medical tourism

The paper, by ASPS member surgeon Dr. Kevin Chung and Lauren Franzblau of the University of Michigan, discusses the rise and transformation of the medical tourism industry, foreign and domestic forces that influence cosmetic surgical tourism, and the pros and cons for all involved parties.Chung and Franzblau argue that- “The rapid globalization of the industry marks a fundamental shift in the world’s perception of elective procedures: patients are becoming consumers and these medical services are being viewed as commodities.” (IMTJ)

December 16, 2013

Skilled manpower redefined India’s health space – Narain, Kumar

The availability of specialised medical treatment heralded the emergence of medical tourism. While the United States and Europe became the centre of healthcare in the last century, an emerging trend in the health space world has evolved in recent times. Skilled manpower in health and wellness services has revolutionised India’s healthcare system, which has made India a haven for medical tourism, raking in over $2 billion in 2012, BusinessDay investigation reveal. (Business Day Online)

December 12, 2013

Why is cosmetic medical tourism rising to never-before-seen heights?

The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) published its unbelievable numbers in its ‘International Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic Procedures Performed in 2011′. According to ISAPS, when it comes to plastic surgeons and cosmetic procedures by countries and continents the numbers are mind-blowing. Although the US is the leader – with 1,094,146 cosmetic procedures performed in 2011 alone, countries such as Brazil (905,124), China (415,140) and Japan (372,773) are quickly picking up the pace, offering the same procedures available in the US, at the same quality, but at much lower prices. (SBwire)

December 4, 2013

Medical tourism hamstrung by obsolete visa rules

India, long seen as a centre for cost-effective treatment by people around the world, is losing its competitive edge in the medical tourism space. The strict visa regime is making people give the country a miss in favour of other Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia which, although costlier, are seen as more welcoming of medical tourists. While there are no studies to show how much business is being lost annually, experts say getting a medical visa to India is almost impossible without hassles. (Business Standard)

December 2, 2013

Canada: Research on Canadian medical tourists

The medical tourism research group at Simon Fraser University in Canada has been busy studying elements of why Canadians pay to go overseas for treatment that they could get at home for free; ‘Canadian patients’ perspectives regarding the use of medical tourism for hip and knee surgery. (IMTJ)

November 29, 2013

Boston health officials investigating severe infections from “medical tourism”

Boston health officials are investigating several reports of severe infections in patients who traveled to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery. At least two patients in Boston, and another in Worcester, are believed to have been infected with Mycobacterium abscessus, a bacteria that is not easily battled with antibiotics, and can take months of treatment to vanquish. (

US insurance companies expanding medical tourism coverage

Some argue it could be the answer to Obamacare. Medical tourism is a growing industry, enticing millions of Americans to travel abroad in search of cheaper health care. It’s transformed into a billion dollar industry attracting both patients and health care providers alike. But as the industry grows in popularity, critics warn that cheap prices can come at a much greater cost. (NBC Bay Area)

November 25, 2013

Medical tourism: Overseas and under the knife

Until a few years ago, most Americans going abroad for medical care were either uninsured or wealthy and traveling for cosmetic surgeries. But what you pay your insurance company, as much as 30 percent in some cases, has made going abroad a worthwhile option for a lot more people. For example, if a hip replacement in the U.S. costs $65,000 and you have to pay $19,500 (30 percent), then going to Costa Rica and paying $11,500 is a huge saving. In some cases, insurance companies won’t even cover a procedure if they consider it a preexisting condition, leaving you with the entire bill (the Affordable Care Act looks to do away with this still-common practice in 2014). (Men’s Journal)

November 21, 2013

UK: Medical tourism provides lucrative source of NHS income

International patients coming to the UK for private medical treatment are a lucrative source of income for the NHS, but more UK residents travel abroad for treatment than international patients travel to the UK for private or NHS treatment. This is according to a new study,’Medical tourism: a cost or benefit to the NHS? ‘ published in PLOS ONE, by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of York. Lead author is Johanna Hanefeld. The research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme. (IMTJ)

November 14, 2013

Using a passport to cut the costs of surgery

Used to be, you’d only hear about medical tourism after a celebrity would go to Europe for a face-lift. These days, you’re more likely to hear about your neighbor going to Mexico for new teeth. Yet despite its democratization, medical travel remains in many ways a cottage industry, fraught with potential perils for unsuspecting patients. (The Wall Street Journal)

November 12, 2013

Medical tourism in Israel hurting Israelis?

People from Easter Europe, Cyprus and the United States have been flocking to Israel’s public and private hospitals over the past five years for inexpensive, high-quality medical treatment. But this cash cow for the Israeli health care system may be in jeopardy. (U.S.A. Today)


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