: International News
'Give healthcare tax cuts, boost India's medical tourism'
Washington, June 13, 2011
An Indian American doctor has
suggested that India offer special tax exemptions to its
healthcare industry to capitalise on a potentially $100
billion opportunity offered by the globalisation of
"The Indian government must reform fiscal policy relating to
healthcare as India is one of the beneficiaries of the
globalisation phenomenon," Boston-based cardiac surgeon and
healthcare economist Mukesh Hariawala told IANS.
Economic and patient traffic indicators show an annual 35
percent increment in medical tourism in the last few years
with a projected market cap of $100 billion by 2017, he said,
citing a report by Deloitte and company.
Medical tourism also opens up other business opportunities as
retro customer satisfaction surveys conducted by the Medical
Tourism Association reveal that most patients travel with a
companion and also indulge in a post-treatment relaxing
vacation, he said.
India could corner a major share of this market as "healthcare
in India is synonymous with result- oriented, competitive,
world class healthcare professionals and facilities",
"India could also responsibly ease the healthcare burden of
most industrialised countries with spiralling, uncontrolled
costs," he said citing the example of the United States, which
spends 17 percent of its GDP on healthcare.
At the same time, Hariawala cautioned that with the arrival of
these high paying overseas patients, local Indian patients
should not be relegated as second class.
A portion of the profits from medical tourism must also be
reserved for urbanisation of rural India, he suggested.
In "medical travel", most sought after procedures in
destination countries are open heart surgery, hip and knee
replacement, spinal fusion, dental implants and total body
"The success rates of all participating hospitals match US
standards and patients often find services and care
personalised, particularly in India," Hariawala said.
Besides India, hot destinations for medical travellers from
North America and Europe include Mexico, South Korea,
Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Dubai and Malaysia. Of
these India and Thailand seem to be getting a lion's share,
closely followed by South Korea, he said.
While India currently has 10 hospitals with the Joint
Commission International seal of accreditation given to
hospitals meeting US and EU standards, its closest competitor
Thailand has four, Hariawala noted.
While China too offers excellent facilities, it is still a
non-player in this new, emerging and fast growing market
because of the language barrier, he said.