Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Medical Tourism and Hep C

Medical tourism is not a new thing, but recently I was approached by a company in Chicago looking to me to provide customers for their agency. The email described what they would do for the interested party in going to India to acquire treatment drugs for HCV.

They did not mention cost but I suspect it is not inexpensive to fly to a far away country like India or any other place where pharmaceuticals are sold for far less than here. Some have promoted off shore generic drugs as the answer for those who cannot access treatment here, but the fact is that many people do not have the available resources (money) to pay the cost to travel and pay for these lower priced drugs. A whole lot of people are in this group.

For middle class people who have good jobs or savings it is an option they can choose. Good for them if they feel confident it is the right choice for them. Medical tourism is an option that many have chosen as a solution in other diseases and treatments, but I would caution any person who is considering doing it to do your research about the people offering the service. Some may be very reputable while others are merely looking to scam you.

A family member of mine was traveling in Thailand and needed medical care. He landed at one of these hospitals involved in medical tourism, and he said it was like a 5 star hotel with top of the line equipment with both western trained and local staff. In the context of him being in need while visiting the country, along with his financial situation, it was a great option in his view.

Going across the border to Mexico has also been something many have done to seek out dental care, cosmetic surgery, joint replacement, and on and on. Where I live we have heard mostly about the horror stories the local media report on, but is it an accurate picture of the reality, I am not sure. Maybe you recall people in the US going to Canada to get less expensive drugs, particularly seniors.

I can tell you that most people living with hep c in the world were infected through medical procedures, so please be careful when outside of your home country where standards may not be what you would hope for.

Back to generics and the need for lower prices:

I am in favour of lower priced drugs-all drugs. Recently when I was traveling in Spain I needed medical attention and the doctor prescribed medication that I took to a local pharmacy and it cost $5 to fill, including all costs, dispensing etc. I was amazed and mentioned my dismay, and the pharmacist simply said “cheap” I agreed.

The facts as I see them are that some countries do a better job at negotiating and regulating prices of drugs, and until we see an overhaul in places like North America we will not see lower prices on patent protected drugs.

Is medical tourism the answer? May be good for you, but it is no long term solution to the underlying faults in our system which will affect us all, whether hep c treatments or any other medical practice required to heal people faced with life threatening illness.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.