Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41 (1):286-300 (2013)

Yanzhou Chen
New York University
There is currently an evidentiary gap in the scholarship concerning medical tourism's impact on low- and middle-income destination countries. 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 governments have a legitimate interest in seeking to regulate this industry to ensure that the net effects for their citizens is positive. Moreover, sending countries, particularly those in the developed world, have the responsibility to adopt public policies to diminish demand on the part of their citizens 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.
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DOI 10.1111/jlme.12019
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