25 August 2005

Save Your Own Life. Go to Malaysia.

The blogger known as chlim01 has put together a post citing various anecdotal sources that dialysis treatment in Malaysia is much cheaper than in Singapore, and is quite available to Singaporeans. His post attracted the following comment from a reader, who confirmed this situation. That reader wrote:

"My mother is alive today thanks to affordable dialysis treatment in Malaysia.

Our family income was $3200 when my mother came down with kidney failure. The NKF wanted to charge us $2400 per month. That would have left my family of 5 with $800 to survive. I was the eldest in the family and was in Poly at that time. I consider quitting school to help my family. We even go to our MP for help, he simply told us that the govt policy is for us to be self reliant and our family income is "not low" so the govt cannot help us.

I was on the verge of quitting school when a Malaysian relative who heard about our plight help us to source for life saving treatment in Malaysia. The total cost was less than $700 per month. My relative allow my mother to stay at her home in Malaysia to get treatment. She helps out at a hawker stall over there.

Thanks to the cost effective treatment in Malaysia my mother is alive today."
The ever-entrepreneurial and creative Mr Wang thinks that there is a potential business idea here. Singapore bus companies can diversify into Malaysian health tourism, arranging for Singaporean kidney patients to get treatment in Malaysia and also providing regular transport direct from Singapore to the relevant Malaysian medical centre, and back again.

Sidenote: Mr Wang also has an old post citing an ST article stating that fertility treatment is not only much cheaper in Malaysia, but also achieves much higher success rates.

"Malaysia so cheap meh? I also want to go."

15 comments:

Huichieh said...

A similar comment was published on ST Forum last month (blogged).

Kevin said...

Similar to Singapore's case, United States citizens are able to get more affordable prescriptions by crossing the Canadian border. The American government's policies seem to have little effect over consumer choices. Looks like this health care phenomenon is a global affair.

takchek said...

There was also the case earlier about LASIK? treatment being cheaper in Thailand.

Is Singapore pricing itself out?

Huichieh said...

The Canadian-US situation is more complex. Drugs are cheaper in Canada--because of government price controls. Basic care is excellent. But if you need specialist care, get ready for some really long waiting. Canadians who can afford it go to the US to get treatment... Sometimes, the price is not everything.

That said, Bangkok is very competitive in the region.

pacific202 said...

Well you will soon see gahmen propaganda and warnings on risk of cheaper medical treatment and drugs beyond our borders. I believe it has started already.

andy said...

I wonder why is dialysis so expensive in Spore compared to M'sia.

$2400 is ridiculous when you considered the fact that you haven't include the susidy. It is more than 3 times more expensive than in M'sia where S'porean don't receive any help.

The equipments shouldn't be too different, so that leaves the rents and wages.

MOH should release the breakdown on the cost dialysis to then public.

vivienne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vivienne said...

I think your 'entrepreneurial and creative idea' about Singapore bus companies shuttling patients across the border to get treatment is intrinsically workable. However, I do believe that bus operators require some sort of permit from the LTA before they can embark on a business as such and it's completely possible that the LTA would block this sort of operation to protect the Singapore medical sector.

I recall a while ago where a bus route linking Singapore and Johor's Airport was not approved by the LTA and it was probably partially due to the need to protect Changi Airport's air hub status and to maintain Changi's competitiveness.

Similarly, another prime example would be the case where private bus companies are not permited to operate along the NE MRT line even though they might be more cost effective for the consumer.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Dang!

JD said...

Well, even if what Vivienne say is true, you can still have a secondary bus service that feeds off the current bus services to Malaysia. (i.e. Singapore >>> popular bus station in Johor >>> nearest+cheapest dialysis center) This way, we have no need for approval from Singapore authorities. Alternatively, you can persuade one of those private dialysis centers to setup one near the popular bus stations in Johor. Lots of options...

AS said...

Interesting - we had something similar in the news here in the UK - namely Brits going to Europe for faster rather than cheaper treatment - our healthcare is free (NHS) we pay as we earn I suppose through National Insurance tax - so no one pays for hospital treatment - but quality and waiting times vary across the country - do you guys have to pay for hospital treatment in Singapore - also any comments on the cheaper fertility treatment are welcome on my blog here http://www.reallifecalling.blogspot.com/ which discusses all these issues and more - Mr Wang - great site - so much to read on here

AS said...

by the way - it's still 25th August here 7.45 p.m. - sorry didn't consider the time difference guys

Anonymous said...

A huge chunk of business cost in Sg is the land or rental cost. But who are the landlords? Yes they are GICs. In other words Temasek and gahmen. Remember Ngiam Tok Tok Chang's remark not too long ago about why our cost is too high? So far no minister or the gahmen has refuted him yet.

Jiang Wei said...

"he simply told us that the govt policy is for us to be self reliant"

Right. I just love it when those government eunuch-bureaucrats cite policy like this in response to peoples' real, concrete life-or-death needs. As if telling people "the govt policy is this" would magically put food on tables or save the lives of ailing citizens.

Balls to you, eunuch.

Anonymous said...

My cousin had her lasik done is KL and is very happy with the results.

I have another uncle who went to Bangkok for by-pass surgery. He is alive today and is not bankrupted by the crazy medical cost in Singapore.