NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

India is Becoming an Alternative for Health Care Services

April 27, 2004

India has become a faster and cheaper alternative for medical care to those who have endured prolonged waiting times or rapidly increasing health care costs in other countries, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There are now 37 privately-run Apollo Hospitals, founded by Prathap Reddy of India, and it is becoming the fastest growing private hospital chain in Asia. Patients from around the world are enticed by their high-quality service and competitive costs. Some examples:

  • Cardiac surgery at Apollo costs $4,000, compared to the U.S. cost of at least $30,000.
  • Apollo's orthopedic surgery costs about $4,500, which is less than a quarter of the U.S. cost.
  • Complete medical check-ups range from $90 to $180.

Moreover, India's government is projecting that "medical tourism" is expected to bring in about $2 billion per year to the economy by 2012.

Local officials complain that while foreign visitors may be able to afford Apollo's health services, the typical Indian citizen cannot. Apollo, however, has set aside free beds for the poor and has established a financial trust to help pay for health care for the poor.

Additionally, state-of-the-art technology enables Apollo's physicians to examine patients in remote areas of the country through television monitors. Diagnoses that used to take several days can now take a few hours.

Source: Jay Solomon, "India's New Coup in Outsourcing: Inpatient Care," Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2004.


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