Some Americans Go to Canada for Care

A weight-loss option that the F.D.A. hasn’t approved.

The intragastric balloon, filled with liquid and left in the stomach for up to six months, is not approved for use in the United States, though it’s available in Europe, South America and other parts of the world… Since the balloon’s introduction in Canada in 2006, people like Mrs. Kwarciak have been streaming north in growing numbers. Drawn by the relative ease of balloon placement, Americans account for nearly a third of patients undergoing the procedures in Canadian clinics just over the border.

Full Roni Caryn Rabin article in the NYT.

Comments (6)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    Canada was a medical tourist destination for lasik and dental work back when the U.S. dollar was stronger against the Canadian dollar.

  2. Mark Glasgow says:

    I find this unusual. The Fraser Institute just published a conprehensive study of this exact phenomenon (differing standards of drug approval across borders), and found that Canada’s health system usually lags far behind the United States and Europe. As much as we complain about a red-tape spouting FDA, the evidence presented by the Institute suggests that the health bureaucracy in Canada is much worse.

  3. John R. Graham says:

    @Mark Glasgow:

    Fraser Institute published average for each year. There is a lot of variance around the average. I covered this most lately in July 2010 (

    Plus, Fraser Institute covers drugs only, and this is surely a medical device, not a drug.

    The article neglects the most interesting part of the story: How much are these Americans paying? Are their insurers covering any of the cost? Who are the Canadian surgeons performing the procedure and are they taking time away from the public system to do these procedures? Do the government-run health plans in Canada have concerns that their physicians are performing this procedure on foreign patients? If more Americans travel north for this service, do the Canadian waiting lists in the public system get longer?

    They need some health reporters with an interest in economics!

  4. Brian says:

    Bureaucracy probably gets in the way in most country’s health systems.

  5. Orthodontists Calgary says:

    I agree with Devon. In Canada, Dental treatments is being so popular. From other countries also people are coming for Medical treatments. Here Orthodontists have specific and world class services for medical treatments. One of my friend from Australia had medical treatment last month in Calgary.

  6. James Murphy says:

    Well… People want to go Canada to get proper treatment for their health problems as The government assures the quality of care through federal standards.
    Essiac in Canada