“I am going for treatment to Russia”: that is a refrain increasingly running among foreigners. Igor Lanskoi, advisor to the Russian Health Minister, announced that the number of foreigners coming to the country as medical tourists is on the rise, and has brought between 7 to 10 billions (€ 115 million) of rubles in extra revenue.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said that, in 2015, the number of foreigners who underwent treatment in Russia increased fourfold compared to 2014.
“Earlier, only citizens from the former Soviet republics would come to Russia for medical treatment but Americans are also becoming more interested in Russian treatments now”, said David Melik-Guseinov, director of the Federal Research Institute for Health Organization.
“Citizens of neighbouring countries, like CIS countries, come to Russia. That is the way it was historically, back in the Soviet times: the best medicine was concentrated in Moscow. But lately, foreigners from faraway countries have also started coming to Russia”, he said, adding that he had seen “several Americans” at the Federal Centre for Orthopaedics and Traumatology in the city of Kurgan (1,080 miles east of Moscow).
“I was amazed to hear people speak English, not in some special expat clinic in Moscow, but in an ordinary hospital. Perhaps the level of service is lagging behind in some areas, but from the viewpoint of clinical treatment, the quality of medical assistance in our institutes is just as good. That is why people choose places that are cheaper – they’re more advantageous”, said Melik-Guseinov.
Treatment four times cheaper.
“The foreign demand for Russian medicine is growing because of the weak ruble. Treatment and the accompanying services in the country are now four times as cheap as they are in the West”, said Yakov Margolin, general director of the Clinical Hospital in Yauza.
“When someone wants to undergo treatment in his own country but his insurance doesn’t cover it, he gets angry and chooses to come to Russia since here he can receive the same medical services at a much lower price, especially outside Moscow. We have unique services for which people come to us, services in reproductive medicine, in which for relatively little money we solve serious problems, helping people to have children”, explained Margolin.
For Russian Medical Tourism market, the future looks bright.