Philippine officials formally launched a Medical Tourism campaign to promote the country as “islands of wellness.” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the program, participated in by government agencies, private clinics and hospitals, aimed to make the Philippines the “new hub of wellness and medical care in Asia”.
The components of the program include medical, surgical and dental care, traditional and alternative health care, health and wellness, long-term tourism and the establishment of international retirement and medical zones.
Medical tourism, which combines both health care and travel and leisure, is a multi-billion dollar industry and the Philippines is aiming to compete directly with other Asian countries such as Thailand, India and Malaysia. The program aims to target medical tourists from the United States, Europe, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Pacific island states, especially the large Filipino expatriate and immigrant community.
“We believe that the Philippines can tap into the remaining huge market potential.” Duque said. “I think we still have very many worthy qualities as health care providers, and our medical and surgical capabilities are quite comparable, if not superior,” he said.
Duque also mentioned that price advantage available to medical tourists for medical and surgical procedures in the Philippines, which are 30 to 50 percent cheaper than elsewhere. A coronary bypass costing about $50 000 in the United States is only about $25 000 in the country, with comparable clinical expertise and facilities, as well as complication and success rates, he said.