Superbug A Ploy To Kill Medical Tourism: Healthcare Experts

Healthcare experts in Bangalore smelled a rat in the warning of an antibiotic-resistant Indian superbug going endemic which hit the world headlines yesterday.

While some said the report was an exaggeration and propaganda to kill medical tourism in the country, others termed it a ploy by multinational pharma companies to introduce more drugs and stronger antibiotics into the Indian market.

“We can expect more ‘superbugs and superviruses’ linked to India. This is just the beginning and a lot more is yet to happen to the Indian healthcare industry which is emerging as a medical tourism destination,” said Dr Devi Shetty, chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya.

Terming the report an exaggeration, Dr Shetty said there were more anti-bioticresistant bacteria in Canada and Europe. “The negative publicity in the western media would certainly discourage foreign patients from flocking to Indian hospitals for treatment. This will not only hit medical tourism but pharma companies would now come out with more and more super drugs and super antibiotics to fight infections,” said Dr Sudershan Ballal, medical director and chief of medical advisory board, Manipal Hospitals.

“There are many more harmful bugs found in the US but we never stop visiting the country,” he added.

Vishal Bali, CEO, Fortis Hospitals, which annually caters to 5,000 international patients in Bangalore, 50 per cent from developed countries, says the study conducted is inappropriate as it is done on just a handful of the patients. “The scientists should have done it on a wider geographical scale before arriving at these conclusions,” he said.

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