Indian medical industry at Rs 10,800 cr worth by 2015

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India’s world-class medical technology coupled with a skilled medical workforce will ensure that the Indian medical tourism industry is worth Rs.10,800 crore ($108 billion) and that the number of foreign patients visiting the country crosses 32 lakh by 2015, a commerce chamber report said Friday.

“Emerging Trends In Domestic Medical Tourism Sector”, prepared by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) estimated the current worth of Indian medical tourism industry at around Rs.4,500 crore with about 8.5 lakh foreign patients annually getting treated here.

“India enjoys strategic advantage of essential resources like world-class medical technology, infrastructure and skilled medical workforce. The rapid growth will not only earn foreign exchange but will also give a huge boost to the country’s health sector,” said the study.

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According to Assocham, top notch facilities, especially in sectors like cardiology, joint replacement, orthopaedic surgery, transplants etc. at a low price, are certain key factors making India a favoured destination.

“High quality medical care at a fraction of a price people would traditionally pay in developed countries is the basic reason behind this surge in number of patients flocking to India for treatment purposes,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of Assocham.

As per the study, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and New Delhi are fast emerging as India’s best medical centres with facelifts, dental and botox treatment, tummy tucks, eye care etc. the most sought after treatments.

Further, with holistic medicinal services like yoga, meditation, ayurveda, allopathy etc. India offers a plethora of facilities difficult to match in other countries.

“Ayurveda is increasingly becoming popular as a non-surgical treatment for various ailments among the patients hailing from abroad,” said the study.

India gets the most number of foreign patients from the Middle East, followed by the US, Europe and people from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others.

However, Assocham added that India was facing tough competition from Australia, Belgium, Cuba, Costa Rica, Hungary among others that are actively promoting healthcare tourism.

“We propose developing ‘Multi-Specialty Health City’ on public-private partnership basis at 10 centres across the country, which will help us secure a bigger share in the industry and also encourage reverse brain drain by attracting non-resident Indian doctors, experts,” said Rawat.

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