Turkish Pharma: Crisis-Proof?


Despite the sharp decline in the Turkish lira’s value, the general mood among pharmaceutical executives in Turkey is positive. Rather than being discouraged, they are calling upon their resiliency and experience from former periods of economic fluctuation to push the Turkish healthcare and life sciences sector forward.


Turkey made international headlines in summer 2018 when the Turkish lira lost 34 percent of its value against the US dollar in just an eight-month period. This seismic drop in value caused international financial institutions and multinational corporations alike to look upon Turkey with hesitation.


Despite the negative international headlines on Turkey’s financial situation, within the Turkish pharmaceutical sector, the mood remains optimistic. Pharma executives in Turkey are no strangers to economic fluctuations – after all, the country faced similar situations in 1994, 2001 and 2009. While the current dip in the lira’s value certainly poses an obstacle, decision-makers do not seem to be panicking; the frequent ebb and flow of the Turkish economy have given managers a ‘crisis-proof’ mentality.

I believe that the Turkish healthcare sector will again defiantly adapt and survive

Tahsin Yüksel, Teva

“In the past, Turkey experienced several economic difficulties,” explains Tahsin Yüksel, general manager of Teva Turkey. “I believe that the Turkish healthcare sector will again defiantly adapt and survive.”


Yüksel’s sentiments are common among Turkish healthcare and life sciences execs. The currency crisis has not stopped the industry from investing in Turkey and furthering its potential, with companies pouring millions into hospital projects and manufacturing sites. “Overall, while we are going through a crisis right now, it will soon pass and the hard times will end,” says Turgut Tokgöz, secretary general of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Turkey (IEIS), with confidence. “In the meantime, we are focused on exporting, investing in R&D and strengthening our sector while we navigate the economic hardships we are currently experiencing.”


Therefore it remains business as usual for most companies in Turkey. “Ultimately, Turkey is a huge, expanding market, and it only has intentions to grow,” concludes Altan Gorseval of Lundbeck Turkey. “In general, the population is not only ageing but growing, and our healthcare ecosystem continues to show promising signs of development.”

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