Indian doctors are profiting from globalisation by offering high-quality, low-cost medical treatment for foreigners in posh private hospitals. A recent study by the consulting group McKinsey estimated that India’s revenue from medical tourism could be US$2.2 billion by 2012. Most patients come from Asia, Africa or the Middle East, although some come from the US, Canada and Europe.
India’s health care system as a whole is far inferior to developed countries, but there are some superbly equipped hospitals, staffed by experienced doctors which offer top flight care at bargain basement prices. The services range from liver transplants to hip replacements to “smile designing”. Last year about 150,000 foreign patients sought treatment in India and the number is increasing by about 15% each year. A carpenter from North Carolina told the Washington Post that he paid only US$10,000 for heart surgery which would have cost him US$200,000 at home — including a return flight airfare and some tourism.
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