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Report: Turkish life sciences industry draws outside investors, pharma

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Big pharmaceutical companies and foreign investors are flocking to Turkey to capitalize on its encouraging economic policies, according to global growth consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. The establishment of technology development zones that exempt pharmaceutical entrepreneurs and academics from income taxes until 2023 has played a particularly crucial role in driving R&D activity in the life sciences industry.

A new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, 2014 Life Sciences Outlook in Turkey, finds the market saw revenues of $14.53 billion in 2013. The study covers pharmaceuticals and clinical diagnostics. The pharmaceutical segment was valued at $14.04 billion in 2013 and is estimated to reach approximately $21.65 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1%. The clinical diagnostics segment accounted for the rest of the total life sciences market revenues in 2013 and is forecasted to hit $0.70 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 7.4%.

“Biologics, oncology drugs and blood-based products are expected to support the development of the life sciences market in a big way,” said Aiswariya Chidambaram, Frost & Sullivan Healthcare senior research analyst. “The biologics segment, which accounted for 11% of the total Turkish pharmaceutical market in 2012, is poised to expand at a CAGR of 15% between 2013 and 2018. On the other hand, the oncology segment will witness strategic investments—including certain tax allowances, customs duty exemption and value-added tax exemption—worth more than $9 billion.”

The Healthcare Transformation Program designed to improve healthcare services and access will remain instrumental to boosting spending across these segments. The strategic objectives of the program, along with rapid economic growth will ensure that Turkey’s life sciences market progresses faster than mature markets in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

However, price ceilings that do not exceed 66% of drug reference prices and rigid reimbursement policies are adversely impacting foreign investors’ profits and overall market momentum. The lengthy drug approval process and poor patent protection also are dampening the investment spirit in the Turkish life sciences industry.

“With the reimbursement amount for prescription drugs having decreased at an average AGR of 7.1% between 2009 and 2012, companies increasingly are foraying into the over-the-counter segment with different product offerings,” said Chidambaram. “This trend is expected to significantly boost domestic production and supply capacity.”

Eventually, Turkey will become the regional life sciences capital of the Middle East and North Africa. The country’s inviting investment scenario and pharmaceuticals export potential of nearly $300 billion to neighboring countries will help it quickly attain a strong status in the region.

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