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

Embil develops unique formulations and manufactures semi-solids in the areas of gynecology, dermatology and topical pain management. The company also has solid dosage form tablets produced through a contract-manufacturing partner. Embil reached global recognition in 1994 for its vaginitis treatment, "Neo-Penotran." In recent years, the company has focused on dermatological products to treat acne and local pain management products. It is also formulating generics molecules in emerging technologies such as microsponge drug delivery systems.

Approximately 40% of Embil's $25-million revenue in 2007 came from exports, and Koral Embil, who runs the company with his brother, Edis, says the ratio may soon reach 50% thanks to the addition of new export territories. By 2013, the company plans to move into new production facilities and expand its capacity 10-fold, to 40 million units. Embil says the complex, to be based in Istanbul, Turkey, is expected to receive approval from US and European Union regulators.

Hopes in High-Margin Drugs

Profile: Dr. F. Frik Pharmaceuticals

Erol Frik, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
Before Erol Frik returned to Turkey from Canada in 1989 to take over the company founded by his grandfather, Dr. F. Frik Pharmaceuticals was a low-profile distributor of high-volume, affordable drugs. That was before Frik imposed a horizontal management style and a more focused sales and marketing approach engaged in expensive therapeutics for the central nervous system and urology.

"The number one factor for us is a higher profit margin product," says Frik, the company's chairman. "It has to have a higher selling price per box because I'm tired of selling 1 million boxes, making €500,000 [about $706,000], and after marketing expenses and financial expenses, being left with absolutely nothing." The shakeup has resulted in epic growth—100% gains over each of the past three years—leaving Dr. F. Frik with 2007 revenues of about $65 million and a portfolio of more than a dozen products. The company anticipates 50% growth in 2008 but envisions larger increases during the next five years. The prediction is based on new licensing agreements with multinational firms and the introduction of 40 new products.

Taking Care of Turkey

Profile: Selçuk Ecza

Sonay Gürgen (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
In the mid-1990s, as distribution in Turkey rose out of local channels and into national networks, Selçuk Ecza Deposu came away as one of the nation's two preferred pharmaceutical wholesalers. Today, running neck and neck with leading distributor Hedef Alliance, Selçuk boasts a nearly 35% market share, serving more than 18,000 pharmacies with 4630 employees working out of 100 branches. In 2007, Selçuk enjoyed gains of 30% and earned $2.85 billion. "The most important thing for us is that the Turkish pharma market is growing very fast," says Sonay Gürgen, company vice-president and general manager. "We have a large market share because we have taken care of the Turkish market." Forecasting annual increases of more than 10% until 2011, Gürgen says Selçuk will continue to cultivate relationships with Turkey's manufacturers and pharmacies and will grow at the pace of the local pharma market. Selçuk is also considering the acquisition of a majority stake in a foreign wholesaler.

This report was prepared by Executive Country Reviews, a press agency headquartered in Paris and Istanbul. Country editors Ece Vatansever (
), Lina Serafini (
), and Guillaume Doane (
) met with senior executives from the Turkish Pharmaceutical Industry to compile the report.

Useful Contacts

Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (AIFD)
tel: +90 212 267 16 00

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Turkey (IEIS)
tel: +90 212 353 11 20

Turkish Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (TISD)
tel: +90 212 275 96 30

International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering–Turkey Affiliate (ISPE)
tel: +90 212 482 00 00


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