Medical Tourism's Impact on Health Care Equity and Access in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries: Making the Case for Regulation
15 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2013
Date Written: April 20, 2013
There is currently an evidentiary gap in the scholarship concerning medical tourism’s impact on low-and-middle-income destination countries (LMICs). This article reviews relevant evidence that exists, and concludes that there are signs of correlation between medical tourism and the expansion of private, technology-intensive health care in LMICs, which has largely remained out of reach for the majority of the local patients. In light of this health care inequity between local residents and medical tourists in LMICs, we argue that the presumption should not be in favor of medical tourism, and that LMIC governments have a legitimate interest in seeking to regulate the medical tourism industry to ensure the net effect for their citizens is positive. Moreover, sending countries, particularly those in the developed world, have the responsibility to adopt public policies to diminish their citizens’ demand for medical tourism, and to work with LMICs to ensure that the growth of medical tourism does not occur at the expense of the poorest of the poor.
Keywords: medical tourism, medicine, law, regulation, health equity, health access
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