EC Reviews: An Executive Country Review on Turkey - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

EC Reviews: An Executive Country Review on Turkey
In the wake of economic growth, healthcare reforms, and large-scale industry investment, Turkish pharmaceutical companies are charting their own destiny.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 32, Issue 10, pp. 94-103

Some executives also worry Turkish manufacturers are not positioned to ward off an economic downturn, especially companies without global presence. Pharmaceutical exports were less than 4% of the industry's value–approximately $357 million–with about half coming from raw materials. Active pharmaceutical ingredient production in Turkey has been in severe decline, undercut by China and India's high-volume, low-price models. Worries about Chinese and Indian generics companies encroaching on the Turkish drug market have begun to materialize.

"We may have a Chinese or Indian invasion worldwide," says Dr. Cengiz Sezen, chairman of the Board of Mustafa Nevzat. "It is possible, economically."

Yet others see the branding strength of Turkish generics players, with domestic credibility and more acceptance from the global economy, holding an edge over China and India. "When you look at the record, the development of Indian and Chinese companies trying to get into the branded generics markets is very poor," says Clemens von Oswald, country head for Sandoz Turkey. "For the foreseeable future, Turkey will be a branded generics market. We have a strong growth and a clear positioning in terms of market dynamics."

A Nexus in Pharmaceuticals

Profile: Bell Holding

Livio Manzini, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
For the past 50 years, Bell Holding has set the gold standard in packaging for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Among the nine Turkish companies operating within this business-to-business group, four specialize in industrial packaging: Interkap, Senapa Stampa, Metalum, and Perfektüp. The group's clients include nearly every pharmaceutical manufacturer in Turkey listed by IMS.

"One of the cornerstones of our strategy is to nurture relationships with pharmaceutical companies and stay close and attentive to their evolving needs," says Livio Manzini, Bell Holding's chairman and CEO.

Industrial packaging accounted for $75 million of Bell Holding's sales in 2007, and Manzini expects revenues to double within five years. The group leader, Perfektüp, Turkey's main supplier of collapsible aluminum tubes, is Bell Holding's most global player, exporting half of its production to Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

Since last March, Bell Holding also has offered contract-sales services to pharmaceutical manufacturers through a joint venture with Innovex, the world's largest commercial sales organization, based in the United Kingdom.

Applying the group's start-up expertise and its vast network in Turkish pharmaceuticals, Innovex already has acquired seven clients and 150 sales reps, and it aims to build a sales force of 1000 by 2010. The Innovex Turkey subsidiary provides drugmakers with product registration, human resources services, health management solutions, and the core activity, contract-sales.

"For any pharma company that may want to come to Turkey and establish its presence, this service is obviously precious," says Manzini.

The Local Multinational

Profile: Nobel Ilaç

Hasan Ulusoy, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
Nobel Ilaç is arguably Turkey's most international pharmaceutical company. Since 2000, it has aggressively targeted foreign markets, setting up sales teams in 14 countries, including developing markets such as Ukraine, Bulgaria and, most recently, Russia and Romania. Both of its production factories in Istanbul received approval this year from German auditors and the company is looking forward to approval from the US Food and Drug Administration as it would like to form out-licensing and contract-manufacturing partnerships in the United States.

"The first years are always years of learning, investing, and even losing money," says Nobel Chairman Hasan Ulusoy, of the company's long-term expansion strategy. "But, if you have the patience and are addicted to the target, you can manage it."


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