The term ‘Medical tourism’, which refers to international travelling for the purpose of receiving medical care abroad, has seen a new wave of tourists seeking out the elixir of life.
Charlatans have been enticing people willing to put their lives in danger, with the promise of longevity and preying on desperate souls, who seek out treatments either for vanity or to defy the diagnosis of a terminal illness.
Population ageing is a global phenomenon, with more and more people having fewer children and living longer than ever before. In a bid to combat the ageing, millions of people cross the boarder every year to undergo expensive and otherwise unavailable procedures to shave a few years off.
Whilst science continues to research ageing, it hasn’t taken any steps forward to finding the cure. As a result people are willing to risk their lives and fall victims to scam to anyone prepared to take advantage.
According to Patients Beyond Borders, the global medical tourism market was worth $74bn-$92bn (£59bn-£73bn) in 2019.
It saw people forking out on thousands only to end up with botched boobs, a crooked smile and burst lips, whilst others pay the ultimate price in death.
Most recently stem cell therapies have been advertised by unreputable practitioners to lure tourists into a trap with the promise of rejuvenating and fixing damage caused by disease and deterioration.
A report published last year found US, China, India, Thailand and Mexico to be the leading countries in stem cell tourism and stated that “stem cell technologies are often associated with inflated expectations of their therapeutic potential”
Peter Ward is the author of ‘The Price of Immortality: The Race to Live Forever’ wrote in his book how one clinic in Iowa was being sued over false advertisements which stated: “Anti-Aging: Mesenchymal Stem Cell infusions turned back the hands of Father Time about three years! Would you like to get back three years?”.
Whilst another clinic in Florida had its licence revoked in 2015 after two patients undergoing therapy had died, a quest to live forever cut short.