Medical tourism is accelerating, as well it should. Advancing biotechnology, computing power and materials science means that (a) the practice of good medicine is coming down to pretty much the cost of regulation plus the cost of the people running the show, and (b) many more regions of the world have the technology base, medical community and level of economic success to do the job well.
A Filipino doctor has partnered with a Hong Kong-based company to give his countrymen hope in experiencing renewed health and strength with autologous stem cell transplants. There is so much controversy surrounding stem-cell research because of cloning issues but plastic and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Florencio Lucero believes that autologous transplants will not only help Filipinos but also enhance medical tourism in the Philippines. In fact, he said less than a fourth of his over 20 stem cell patients are Filipinos.
This sort of thing is "eat your lunch out from under you" competition for the biotechnology and medical industries of over-regulated US and Europe. Here, competition is relatively muted, squashed beneath the regulatory burden of patents, trials, compliance with a thousand inane laws. Those comparative few who source enough capital make it past the regulatory costs move into the realm of protectionist policies and short term gain - the barrier now behind them is the fence against competition, and it is in their interest to keep that fence high. A high fence means high profits and less of a need to try anything new and better to keep the money coming in.
Let me say this: human beings are damn lazy when there isn't a spear prodding them in the back. It's our nature. Competition is that spear, the serious threat of your profits and edges vanishing elsewhere, forcing you to inventively accomplish more and better for less. Competition is the alchemical weapon that transforms all the worst aspects of human nature into tools to bring progress to all as rapidly and cheaply as possible. The more aggressive, open and unrestricted the competition, the better the resulting service is for the customers - folk like you and I.
So we should all be very pleased to see Asian biotech and medical entrepreneurs eating the very lunch out from underneath late-stage researchers and new businesses in the US and Europe. It's the only way that those insulated folk inside the regulatory fence are going to feel any meaningful pressure to help tear it down - and thus better serve us over the long term.