Medical Tourism – More hospitals coming up for foteign patients

Azad Moopen, the Dubai-based billionaire who runs Aster DM Healthcare, has returned to his native state of Kerala to launch the company’s flagship hospital in India.

The new 670-bed hospital in Kochi cost 5.5 billion rupees and there are plans to increase the number of beds and build a hotel in the next phase as the company aims for the 40-acre project, called Aster Medcity, to become a medical city.

Aster DM seeks to tap India’s rapidly rising spending on health care and fill a gap in a country where high-end facilities are lacking. There is a growing demand for treatment amid rising incomes and proliferation of lifestyle diseases, including diabetes and heart conditions. 

The new hospital will also target medical tourists. The Maldives, Sri Lanka, the UAE and other Arabian Gulf countries are among their main target markets for medical tourists. The target is for 20 % of the hospital’s patients to be medical tourists by the end of 2015, 

Harish Pillai of Aster Medcity says, “Our strategic plan is looking at south India and west India –focusing on Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat in phase one of our expansion with the ultimate aim of becoming a national chain.”

Aster DM has acquired hospitals in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Kolhapur, and is planning to seek new capital this year as it continues on its expansion drive. Aster DM is based in Dubai but is legally registered in Kochi. 

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