Medical Tourism: How cheaper costs are pulling foreign patients to India

Owing to quality medical services coming at a cheaper price, India is witnessing a swelling number of patients from other countries each year boosting medical tourism. According to the data available with Ministry of Tourism, as many as 96,856 foreigners have visited India on Medical Visa till June this year.

In 2013, 56,129 foreigners visited India on Medical Visa that increased from 7,5,671 in 2014 to 1,34,344 in 2015 with largest number of patients thronging from Bangladesh. “India is receiving a huge number of patients from other countries because doctors and medical services in India are astoundingly great and can be availed at a cheaper price. Cosmetic procedures like lasers, Botox and skin surgeries such as facelift and nose jobs etc are very costly in other countries. There is an array from patients running towards India, especially from Bangladesh and Afghanistan because these kinds of surgeries are not covered in any kind of insurance,” said Dr Deepali Bhardwaj, a noted Dermatologist based in New Delhi.

“I receive 30 to 40 patients every month who come on Medical Visa from other countries. I also get many patients from Europe because in India we use European machines that are otherwise very costly in other countries and definitely attract patients to rush for availing these services,” she said. Rehana from Korea has recently got a nose job, control depth peel and multivitamin (cosmetic skin treatments) done at Dr Bhardwaj’s clinic that would have cost her over Rs 60,000 to 70,000 in her country. In India she availed the services for Rs 35, 000 only with good results.

Majority of private hospitals in Delhi receive good number of patients from other countries, hospitals in NCR are also swarmed with patients on Medical Visa. “Besides metros, multispecialty hospitals in NCR like Faridabad and Gurgaon have been witnessing a robust growth over the years in terms of international patient footfalls. On an average we have 2000 international patients visiting our hospitals for their medical needs. Majority of our overseas patients are from the Middle East countries, Afghanistan, South Africa, Nigeria and others,” said Neha Pandey, Director, International Marketing, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad, adding “overseas patients are coming for treatments like cancer, neurosurgery, cardio vascular, knee replacement, bariatric and aesthetics. But in the last two months there has been a dip in the footfall s as they are finding it difficult to get their medical visa .”