After managing a national economic crisis in 2018, Turkey pushed forward with concentrated efforts to boost its economy ahead of the republic’s 100 years anniversary in 2023, by when Turkey aims to become one of the world’s top ten economies. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the key sectors identified in realizing this goal and, with the government and the industry’s goals aligned, drug makers have been incentivized to increase their exports quotas and branch out into the biotech space.
Valued at approximately 40.7 billion lira (US$6 billion), the Turkish pharmaceuticals industry represents around 0.5% of the global pharmaceutical market of US$1.2 trillion, having grown steadily in the past decade. Besides increasing its output, the industry has also committed to more R&D projects and manufacturing higher-value drugs. In 2018, Turkey was recognized as part of the international PIC(s) alliance of pharmaceutical jurisdictions, taking a seat on the global scene while simultaneously rolling out its localization policy.
In early 2020, Turkey is facing one of its greatest challenges to date due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Global supply disruption, capital flight, and what is said to be the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression, all threaten the industry. In particular, biotech players will be less able to avail the crisis because of their reliance on external funding. However, Turkey’s drug producers have repeatedly proven resilient despite unfavorable conditions. Local and international manufacturers operating in the country are already taking an active role in the fight against the virus.
GBR conducted much of the research for this publication prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and we have tried to update the report with new perspectives caused by the pandemic wherever possible. What is already clear, however, is that Turkey’s pharma industry will play a more important role than ever before in the years to come. Labs and production lines remain staffed as Turkey’s pharma companies endeavor to provide the country’s hospitals with the drugs and supplies that they need during this crisis period. The fact that, so far, they have been so successful in doing so is itself a testament to the strength that the industry has already achieved.