Obama’s comment on Indian healthcare not acceptable: Azad

April 21st, 2011 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) India Thursday termed as “not acceptable” US President Barack Obama’s statement discouraging Americans from visiting India or Mexico for “cheap healthcare” and said Indian medicines and healthcare was appreciated the world over.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, taking exception to the US president’s statement, said: “Barack Obama’s statement is not at all acceptable because when we go to World Health Organisation we are appreciated by the world for the medicines and healthcare present in our country. The medicines that we manufacture here are sold in more than 100 countries.”

He was reacting to Obama’s statement Wednesday discouraging US citizens from visiting India or Mexico to get “cheap healthcare”.

Describing medicare as “one of the most important pillars of our social safety net”, the US president had said: “My preference would be that you don’t have to travel to Mexico or India to get cheap healthcare.”

Speaking to NDTV India, the health minister said: “Even the United States of America buys medicines from India’s private sector, which has medicine manufacturing units there.”

“These medicines are recognised by America, so where is the question of calling them cheap? It’s just that they are affordable for the common man,” Azad said.

“If our doctors are no good, then what about the 61,000 Indian doctors working in the US? If they work there, then it’s fine but if they work here then America has a problem,” he said.

The health minister also said that with such statements “they want to create an atmosphere doubting the capabilities of countries like India to manufacture good quality medicines so that they can get the patents.”

Market research reports estimate that 150,000 people travel to India for low-priced healthcare procedures every year. India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30 percent, making it a Rs.9,500 crore industry by 2015.

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