Turkey: New Expectations In Turkish Pharmaceutical Market

Last Updated: 3 October 2013
Article by Safak Herdem and Safak Herdem

The global market for pharmaceuticals is expected to grow from 782 billion dollars of its 2011 value to 971 billions of dollars in 2016. 80% of the market share is divided up between North American, European and Japanese markets

Even though they still retain their preeminence these markets are slowly losing their capabilities to be the driving forces behind the market growth in pharmaceutical industries. Instead countries like Turkey, Brazil, Russia, India and China, which have recently being called Pharmerging countries, have increasingly started to play prominent roles in the pharmaceutical sector and contributing significantly to the growth rates of the industry. The leading emerging countries are expected to account for the 28% of the global spending on pharmaceuticals in 2015 which is a major jump from their 2005 spending that only amounted to 12 % of the total global pharmaceutical spending. The underlying reason for such countries to emerge as significant markets for the pharmaceutical industry is the growth of their GDP's in general and the improvement of the quality and better access to the healthcare services in particular. In that sense Turkey is no exception from the rest of the Pharmerging countries.

Turkey's Investments in Healthcare

The year 2004 has turned out to be a major milestone for the healthcare reforms in Turkey. Physician consultation as well as per capita life expectancy have taken off respectively from 1.7% to 7.7% from mid 1990's to the end of the first decade of the millennium and 24% during the course of the last three decades and reaching 74 years of age. Substantial research has found out that the jump in life expectancy levels is a direct consequence of the positive effects obtained by innovative drugs. Concomitant with such improvements the Turkish pharmaceutical industry is currently ranking 16th in the world and 6th in Europe regarding the market value and 36th pertaining to the clinical research in the Global Competition Index that has been issued by World Economic Forum covering the period of 2011-2012. The global pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow around 3% between 2012-2016 and the Turkish market for pharmaceuticals is expected to grow in similar rates bordering around %2.8.

Turkey's Potential and Its Advantages

Turkey, with its regional position as an emerging economic hub, is well situated to be a significant player in pharmaceutical industry. Its central location between Asia and Europe is a key advantage for the pharmaceutical companies seeking to extend their R&D operations in to the Middle East, Eastern and South Eastern Europe and the Caucuses where Turkey is strategically located in their midst. Top 20 countries that Turkey exports its pharmaceutical products includes 6 Middle Eastern countries with Iraq and Iran topping the list with 54 and 44 millions of dollars worth purchases and 7 European countries. The total volume of Turkish pharmaceutical exports currently amount to 720 million dollars.

Moreover several reports that have been issued by the Turkish government concerning Turkey's vision for the next decade, which will coincide with the centenary year of the modern Turkish Republic, envisages increases in R&D investments amounting to 3% of the GDP. In real terms R&D in pharmaceutical industry in Turkey is expected to jump from 60 million dollars to 150 million dollars in 2015. Strategic geographic location and governmental willingness to spend more on R&D combines with a talented workforce with necessary expertise and know how in pharmaceutical sector.

Ironically what can make Turkey even more attractive for the renowned pharmaceutical companies around the world is Turkey's relatively small R&D facilities which are operating inside institutions such as universities. By outsourcing their R&D operations to such small and medium sized R&D facilities, pharmaceutical companies can develop cost effective solutions and gain access to the aforementioned well educated work force that numbers around 30.000 people, half of them holding higher degrees. Moreover the investment incentives program that was adopted in 2012 by the Turkish government included pharmaceuticals among the industries that will benefit from VAT and customs duty exemptions if the investment made is at least 50 million Turkish Liras worth or more.

Finally Turkey's political stability, a single party rule that has been going on more than a decade, especially compared with the instability of its immediate neighborhood and its legislative framework that guarantees equal treatment for the companies with foreign capital are great advantages for the foreign companies operating in any industry including the pharmaceuticals.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Safak Herdem
Safak Herdem
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