Turkey has a strong infrastructure for medicines manufacture with around 300 pharmaceutical producers, making it the seventh
largest pharmaceutical industry in Europe and 16th in the world. The country has well-established universities providing a basis for R&D activities.
Above all, Turkey is strategically located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It has the logistical connections to
supply Europe, which has annual pharmaceutical imports of $264 billion; Russia with imports of $11 billion; Central Asia and
the Caucasus with $2 billion; and the Middle East and North Africa with $14 billion.
To realize the potential of these benefits by attracting large amounts of investment, the industry argues that the government
must first introduce a more sustainable drugs-pricing policy. Currently, Turkey's medicines prices are among the lowest in
The country has had some recent investment successes. These include Amgen's $700-million takeover of Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals,
a Turkish generics producer; the formation of a partnership between Otsuka of Japan and Abdi Ibrahim of Turkey; and a decision
by Zentiva, a Czech subsidiary of Sanofi, to make Turkey a production base for generic drugs.
A survey earlier this year by AIFD, however, found that price cuts by the government have been holding back investment. More
than half of 23 research-based pharmaceutical companies said they had had to cancel investments because of government measures,
mainly on prices.
Another problem has been a decision by the government not to recognise GMP certificates from the EU and the US. Instead, foreign
production facilities have to be inspected first by Turkish officials before Turkish marketing licences for medicines can
An AIFD survey in April 2012 found that approvals of almost 300 medicines of foreign research-based companies were being delayed
because of the lengthy time it was taking to gain GMP certification. "The GMP issue has to be sorted out through mutual recognition
agreements with the EU and US," says an IEIS official.
Another drawback for Turkey is a poor reputation for IP protection in which it is rated 70th in the world. In some key areas, the country has a lot of ground to make up before its pharmaceutical manufacturing industry
can attain a top global ranking.
1. PwC and AIFD, Turkey's Pharmaceutical Sector—Vision 2023 Report, Strategy Document (Sept. 2012).
2. Boston Consulting Group, Partnering with the Government to Globalize the Turkish Pharmaceutical Industry (Nov. 2011).
—Sean Milmo is a freelance writer based in Essex, UK