What is Medical Tourism?

Medical tourism (also known as medical travel or global healthcare) is the process in which a patient travels to another destination for medical or health and wellness services. Oftentimes these services can take the form of a cosmetic surgery, dental treatment, knee surgery, health check-up or even a trip to a wellness spa. The term medical tourism may sound strange and exotic to some people; but in fact it is a rapidly growing phenomenon spurred on by an increasingly empowered patient base searching for quality, affordability, availability, and accessibility in healthcare.

Medical tourism is becoming increasingly popular. This phenomenon is driven by marketplace forces and occurs outside of the view and control of the organized healthcare system. Medical tourism presents important concerns and challenges as well as potential opportunities. This trend will have increasing impact on the healthcare landscape in industrialized and developing countries around the world.

In 2012, 30,000 people came to Iran to receive medical treatment. In 2015, it is estimated that between 150,000 and 200,000 health tourists came to Iran, and this figure is expected to rise to 500,000 a year.

Iran has low endemicity for hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections and there is a unique experience of control of these infections that can be presented to people in Middle East countries. The pharmaceutical companies in Iran produces the drugs needed for control of HCV and HBV infection such as Tenofovir disoproxil, Peg Interferon, Sofosbuvir/daclatasvir and Ledipasvir with very low prices and high efficacy. Sadeghi F, Salehi-Vaziri M, Almasi-Hashiani A, Gholami-Fesharaki M, Pakzad R, Alavian SM.