To Russia… for treatment. The number of foreigners coming to the country as medical tourists is on the rise, and has brought the state billions of rubles in extra revenue, according to Igor Lanskoi, advisor to the Russian health minister, who spoke about the phenomenon in an interview with the business daily Kommersant.
He noted that last year such travelers added from 7 to 10 billion rubles ($108-154 million) to the state budget. Earlier, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said that in 2015 the number of foreigners who underwent treatment in Russia increased fourfold in respect to 2014.
Before, only citizens from the ex-Soviet republics would come to Russia to improve their health but now Americans are also becoming more and more interested in Russian treatments, according to David Melik-Guseinov, director of the Federal Research Institute for Health Organization.
“Citizens of neighboring countries, 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 been coming to Russia,” he said, explaining that he had seen “several Americans” at the Federal Center for Orthopedics 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 institute is just as good. That is why people choose places that are cheaper – they’re more advantageous,” said Melik-Guseinov.