A recent report on the biopharmaceutical sector presence, employment, economic output and research and development activity in the European States highlights Turkey’s long-term prospects for growth. The report notes that the industry is creating a positive ripple across the region’s economy, improving the quality of life for its citizens and increasing access to medicine.
In particular, strong public-private industry collaborations and an emphasis on research and development are highlighted as aiding in the development of new medicines, improving access to medicine and increasing the economic benefits of the region. Güler Hülya Yılmaz, head of Deloitte Turkey’s Health and Drug Industry division, emphasizes the importance of research and development (R&D) in the biopharmaceutical sector. Yilmaz states, “In R&D, it’s important that there be a strong foundation for laying the bricks of innovation. Turkey has that foundation, but with this there is a need for government support of new research and partnerships between industry and academia.”
Global Health Progress (GHP) also believes proper support for research and development in the pharmaceutical industry can contribute to the Turkish economy far beyond drug development and production. For example, the Turkish biopharmaceutical market has expanded rapidly, generating approximately US $8.5 billion in revenue in 2008 and contributed thousands of high-quality, highly skilled jobs to the region. Fortunately, recent reforms and policy changes by the Turkish government have created a more favorable environment for R&D investment. For example, the Turkish government has implemented a number of Technology Development Zones, which feature exemptions from income and corporate taxes on profits derived from R&D activity, an exemption from taxes on the wages of R&D personnel employed in the zones and value added tax (VAT) exemptions, all through 2013.
Additionally, the country’s sizeable pool of patients for clinical trials can bring health benefits, diffusion of medical knowledge and greater patient access to medicine and high quality care to citizens. With a population of approximately 72 million and a growing middle class, chronic diseases represent the majority of Turkey’s disease burden. An increased focus on prevention, early intervention, new treatments, and public-private partnerships, including recent government, university and industry collaboration facilitated by the establishment of several research institutes, is critical to reducing the health and economic burden of disease in Turkey.