In recent years more and more Chinese customers have gone overseas for medical treatment. However, they are facing huge risks as the sector is ill-regulated.
In a recent case a woman from Zhuzhou City in central China's Hunan Province was cheated out of more than 600,000 yuan ($92,590) by an intermediary company for overseas medical treatment.
The woman surnamed Ma was given a free physical checkup at a Malaysian hospital during a free tour offered by the company. Ma was diagnosed with lung and breast cancer and paid for treatment at the hospital.
She became suspicious after returning to China and discovering at a local hospital that she had no cancer at all.
More needs to be done in order to crack down on malpractice in overseas medical treatment.
Domestic medical treatment should first be improved because many patients are seeking medical treatment overseas due to insufficiencies at home.
A lack of cancer medication is another factor in patients going abroad for treatment. China is trying to lower tariffs on imported cancer medication to make the treatment more affordable for patients.
Tourism and health authorities should work together to regulate the sector and special trade associations should be established to strengthen the sector's self-discipline.
Moreover, international collaboration should be enhanced to enable patients to receive treatment directly at overseas medical institutions or attract foreign hospitals to set up branches in China to provide services for domestic patients. In the meantime, patients should try to avoid the risks associated with overseas medical treatment by equipping themselves with basic legal and medical knowledge.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Legal Daily on June 13)