M. Levent Selamoğlu

CEO, MN Pharmaceuticals

One of Turkey's many advantages is its geography. Turkey sits in the middle of the world. It has a number of cultural ties with the Middle East and with the CIS region. The economic and social developments over the last decade have made it a very attractive place to invest. Turkish Airlines is also important; you can fly to almost any regional destination from Istanbul with a maximum flight of four hours. The regulations have changed a lot over the past 10 years. The Ministry of Health has implemented many EU standards regarding products in Turkey, and this has created an advantage for the Turkish pharmaceutical industry. If you develop good products, you have a competitive advantage in the markets you want to enter. Competition in the generic sector is very tough, especially with India, China, and Eastern Europe competing. There are strong players in the Middle East as well. Turkish manufacturers have an excellent technological base with a huge production capacity. The Turkish industry has a capacity over 2 billion packs annually, with the domestic market consuming approximately 1.4 billion-1.5 billion packs. Also, the manpower in Turkey, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, is highly qualified. It gives the country a competitive edge for products you can differentiate, not only the generic products, but the value-added type of generic products as well.

Dr. Süha Taşpolatoğlu

General Manager, Roche Pharmaceuticals

Roche is supporting the government's 2023 vision, because we think that there is an opportunity for Turkey in terms of R&D investment. R&D expenditure in the pharmaceutical industry globally is more than $100 billion annually, of which $9.36 billion is invested by Roche. However, when you look at Turkey, R&D expenditure in pharmaceutical investments is only about $33.7 million (TL60 million), which is significantly lower than the global figures. When we consider the geographical advantage of Turkey, the scientists with expertise who can conduct these kinds of trials, and the economic and demographic indicators, which are promising, I am sure that the gap between what can be done and what is being done today will be closed. The Roche Global R&D group assigned the MENA “hub” leadership to Turkey, which has been exhibiting ever-increasing potential in recent years and has been developing rapidly in this field. This “hub” structure led by Turkey includes the countries that are developing in the field of clinical research, such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Our purpose is to conduct a major portion of the pharmaceutical development activities currently conducted by Roche's R&D organization in Turkey, and to provide high-quality data in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Dr. Erhan Baş

General Manager, Bilim Pharmaceuticals

The Turkish pharmaceutical industry is going through a process of rapid transformation. Bilim Pharmaceuticals adapts itself to this process through R&D activities. Currently, super generic drugs and value-added products are developed at our R&D center. Moreover, another group that has focused on exports steers our R&D activities, aiming at international markets. The average life expectancy is increasing and the number of older people is growing. This is leading to an increase in the prevalence of chronic disorders. For this purpose, we have structured our R&D center so it serves such areas as the central nervous system, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cardiology, while directing our efforts to develop new products in these areas. Biotechnological products have begun to be widely used in our country, as in the rest of the world. This new trend encourages companies to step up their R&D activities in order to develop bio-similar products. We plan to enter this area quickly by carrying out joint R&D activities with products that offer bio-similar products. The only way to exist both in the domestic and international markets is to have an advanced and fast-working R&D center. For this reason, we aim to hire employees with a Master's degree or a doctorate. Moreover, the training we provide to all of our employees at our R&D centers are very important to us. We have already focused on this issue. Generally, there is a lack of R&D personnel in Turkey.