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Singapore among Indonesians' favorite medical tourism destinations

Tempo - April 26, 2024

Myesha Fatina Rachman, Friski Riana and Novali Panji Nugroho, Jakarta – Many Indonesian citizens seek medical care abroad, including Singapore. Indonesian President Joko Widodo or Jokowi revealed that this has led to a loss of potential foreign exchange amounting to US$11.5 billion or Rp180 trillion in a year.

Hence, he emphasized the need for bolstering the domestic healthcare industry, acknowledging the extensive groundwork required in the health sector.

Tempo observed that there are three most popular countries for medical tourism among Indonesian citizens, as follows:

1. Singapore

Singapore is the top destination for medical care due to the efficacy of its healthcare system. The city-state has the highest value score for healthcare services based on the annual report of the Future Health Index (FHI), a research-based platform of the international company Philips.

"Singapore has the highest score in value measures, especially in healthcare system satisfaction," Chief Executive Officer of Philips ASEAN Pacific, Caroline Clarke, said when Tempo met at Philips APAC in Toa Payoh, Singapore, on Friday, August 30, 2018.

2. Malaysia

As reported by Antara, Malaysia is one of the most sought-after destinations for Indonesian health tourists due to the plethora of advantages it offers, such as world-class quality healthcare services, affordable costs, easy accessibility, and the best end-to-end services.

In 2018, more than 670,000 Indonesians received healthcare services, both outpatient and inpatient, at various private hospitals in Malaysia.

Nik Yazmin Nik Azman, Chief Commercial Officer of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), said that Indonesians seeking treatment in Malaysia usually suffer from heart disease, cancer, and orthopedics. However, many also travel to Malaysia for beauty and IVF treatments.

It is not surprising that many Indonesians prefer to receive health services in Malaysia due to the affordable prices and international standards compared to similar services in developed countries in Asia, Europe, or the U.S.

3. United States of America

According to Investopedia, the U.S. has one of the highest pharmaceutical costs globally, with Americans spending almost twice as much on pharmaceuticals than people in other developed countries. High drug prices contribute to the biggest cause of overspending in the U.S. compared to Europe, where drug prices are regulated by the government and often based on the clinical benefit of the drug.

Pricing and usage contribute to the high cost of healthcare services in the United States, where the average spending per person on prescription drugs is US$963, compared with an average of US$466 in other affluent countries. At least 58 percent of U.S. adults reported taking one or more medications consistently.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1860987/singapore-among-indonesians-favorite-medical-tourism-destination