Price band aid for medical tourists

New Delhi, Nov 15 | Updated: Nov 16 2005, 05:30am hrs
The tourism ministry and Indian Healthcare Federation (IHCF) have introduced common price bands for treatment of foreign tourists in India in oncology, cardiology, minimum invasive surgery and orthopaedics. These categories account for 80-85% of medical tourists in India.

Minister for tourism Renuka Chowdhary released the price bands on Monday at one of the travel industrys biggest eventsthe World Travel Market (WTM) meet in London. The move is aimed at assuring foreign medical tourists that they will not be overcharged by Indian hospitals.

The ministry will advertise and promote these packages in various international markets as part of the Incredible India campaigns medical value added travel options, Amitabh Kant, joint secretary, confirmed to FE.

Sixteen hospitals in 15 cities, including some of Indias premium hospitals like Apollo, Escorts, Fortis and Wockhardt, have agreed to abide by these rates and more are expected to join in shortly, said Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman, IHCF.

The packages are priced between one-fifth and one-tenth of the prices in the US or EU. For instance, a standard cardiac operation like pacemaker replacement will cost (excluding staying charges, medication, etc.) upwards of $30,000 in the US. In India, the comparative costs will be just $6,750, including all other charges.