Bioethics and transnational medical travel: India, “medical tourism”, and the globalisation of healthcare

Vivien Runnels, Leigh Turner

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2011.014


Abstract

Health-related travel, also referred to as “medical tourism”, is historically well-known. Its emerging contemporary form suggests the development of a form of globalised for-profit healthcare. Medical tourism to India, the focus of a recent conference in Canada, provides an example of the globalisation of healthcare. By positioning itself as a low-cost, high-tech, fast-access and highquality healthcare destination country, India offers healthcare to medical travellers who are frustrated with waiting lists and the limited availability of some procedures in Canada. Although patients have the right to travel and seek care at international medical facilities, there are a number of dimensions of medical tourism that are disturbing.

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