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Medical Tourism In India Blooms Despite India-China Tensions

Tensions between India-China along the border are not the only thing on the rise; Medical Tourism in India has also increased significantly with a large number of Chinese patients. But why is Medical Tourism in India famous amongst Chinese citizens? Will this have any positive impact between India-China relations?

A growing number of Chinese citizens are now looking at India for cost-effective medical treatments. Known for the best doctors in the world, and many equipped hospitals in India offering medical treatments to overseas patients, medical tourism in India is experiencing an all-time surge.

The Story of a Chinese Patient who Benefitted from Medical Tourism In India

An article in the Global Times, a Chinese daily, spoke of a Chinese patient who was infected with HCV, fourteen years ago, during a blood transfusion procedure. The treatment available in China was ineffective thus leaving the patient with no option but to seek help from other nations. The daily reported that the patient then took help from a company that was helping patients from third and fourth tier cities of China to seek medical help from other nations, including India. Already in a nearly critical stage of liver fibrosis, the patient received top class treatment in New Delhi, and the symptoms then vanished in just four weeks.

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What’s even more astonishing is the fact that she was prescribed medicines by the Indian doctors that were not yet available in China. Speaking highly of the Indian medical facilities and hospitals in India, the patient said the hospitals were more like hotels unlike the overcrowded medical facilities in China. She added that the cleanliness and professionalism of hospitals in India are impressive. This is just one of the many incidents and stories that reflect highly on the growth of medical tourism in India.

Medical Tourism in India Bridging the India-China Ties

With over 10 million HCV patients in China, the nation has the largest population of HCV infected patients. However, despite the high number of patients, China was able to start using the DDA treatment for the first time only in 2017. To make matters worse, a large part of the population remains unaware that they have been infected with the virus and many believe that HCV is incurable, which is not true in today’s times. Moreover, while China continues with the high tariffs on medication, India, on the other hand, is being called the pharmacy of the developing world. The Indian government has granted the drug manufacturers a compulsory license allowing them to manufacture the expensive medicines without the fear of patent prosecution. This is yet another reason for the growing medical tourism in India.

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Another noteworthy mention here is the healthy hospitality offered by the hospitals in India. One of the hospitals in India, in Bangalore, has found its ranking among the top ten hospitals in the world offering quality medical tourism in India. In just two years from 2014 to 2016, the number of medical tourist arrivals in India has risen from 66,245 to 177,972. Chinese patients travelling to India have also reported that the medical equipment used in India is much more advanced than the ones used in Chinese hospitals.

Medical Tourism In India Vs the US

There are still many Chinese patients who continue to be willing to pay higher rates by travelling to the United States instead of India. While over 40 percent of the generic drugs sold in the United States are known to be produced in India, some of the Chinese patients still prefer to even sell off their properties and travel to the United States for treatment.

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However, a large number of Chinese companies have now started providing services for medical tourism in India to the not-so-wealthy sick Chinese population. The effective treatments, highly equipped hospitals in India, and cost-effective medical care are luring patients from other nations, especially China, to the Indian subcontinent.

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