Turkey's New Economy Program (NEP) will focus more on the country's biotechnological pharmaceutical industry in order to lower the current account deficit in the short term and eventually turn it into a health technology base.
The government will provide infrastructure support and direct incentive to produce 20 different drugs locally. By doing so, it wants to reverse the trend of importing drugs that have seen Turkey spend $3.4 billion in the last three years and begin exporting. The country wants to eventually claim a larger share of the $140 billion global biotech market.
To that end, Local pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers will receive government support in the form of direct and tax incentives. The companies will receive the necessary know-how from foreign manufacturers.
In addition, a legislation will be facilitated by other institutions in the commercialization phase of products researched and developed using public funds. Further regulations will facilitate the licensing of domestic production, pricing and reimbursement system. In order to meet the sector's need for the workforce, graduate and doctoral students will be awarded grants and scholarships.
Biotechnological drugs constitute around 20 percent of the global pharmaceutical market. The market size of this region will reach $445 billion in 2019. It is estimated that the share of biotech in all drug-diagnostic products will reach 80 percent by 2030.
Turkey's biotech pharmaceutical market has reached TL 3.4 billion ($54.78 million). Thirty-one of the 100 best-selling drugs in Turkey are biotechnological products, with a market share of around 17 percent.
Realizing the development in the sector, local and international companies are producing biotechnological drugs in Turkey. Major local players, including Abdi Ibrahim and Koçak Farma, have increasingly invested on biotechnological drugs. The top five firms in the sector have so far invested $600 million in this field. In addition, U.S. biotech giant Amgen has invested $35 million in a new biotechnological facility in Istanbul after it acquired Mustafa Nevzat for $700 million.
Secretary-General of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (AİFD) Dr. Ümi
t Dereli said that the development of Turkey's biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector will help the country claim a bigger larger share of the global pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) budget of $140 billion annually. "There is no reason why Turkey should not become a successful production and export base," Dereli said.
Pointing out that biotechnological drugs are present in many different treatment groups, Turgut Tokgöz, secretary general of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association (İEİS), said that 200 diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's, heart diseases and diabetes are treated with biotechnological drugs.
According to the first six-month figures for 2017, a total of eight biotechnological drugs entered the market as five reference and three biosimilar drugs, meaning that the Turkish pharmaceutical market now consists of 237 biotechnological drugs including 196 reference and 41 biosimilar drugs.
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