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Medical Tourism: Revenue Generation or International Transfer of Healthcare Problems?


  • Ramya Vijaya


This paper focuses on the relatively new conduit for the transfer of services from the developed to the developing economies - the growing trend of "medical tourism" where patients travel to low-cost developing countries for health procedures. Previous analysis of this trend tends to focus on either the cost savings for the patients or the revenue potential for the host economies. However, viewing the health sector merely in the monetary terms of transnational trade presents contradictions, which call for re-evaluating yet again the limitations of measuring economic progress merely in monetary terms. This article examines these contradictions based on a case study of the medical tourism industry in India. While health tourism is a potential revenue source, it also competes with the domestic health sector and could transfer some of the health care problems of the developed world to the developing world.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramya Vijaya, 2010. "Medical Tourism: Revenue Generation or International Transfer of Healthcare Problems?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 53-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:1:p:53-70
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624440103

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    Cited by:

    1. Panchapakesan, P., 2013. "Antecedents of customer loyalty in medical tourism," Working Papers Series 2 13-03, ISCTE-IUL, Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL).
    2. Ya-Hui Wang, 2017. "Expectation, Service Quality, Satisfaction, and Behavioral Intention – Evidence from Taiwan’s Medical Tourism Industry," Advances in Management and Applied Economics, SCIENPRESS Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 1-1.
    3. repec:eee:touman:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:538-552 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Beladi, Hamid & Chao, Chi-Chur & Ee, Mong Shan & Hollas, Daniel, 2015. "Medical tourism and health worker migration in developing countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 391-396.

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