Turkish Pharma: Eyeing Up Exports


Seizing the cost competitiveness of the Turkish market and the government’s nurturing of local manufacturing, Turkish companies are looking to harness their geographic positioning and export to developed and developing markets alike.


We did not shy away from entering the most advanced healthcare ecosystems.

Barış Özyurtlu, General Manageger, Berko Ilac.


“Although Turkey constitutes our manufacturing base, our objective is to supply our products to both developing and mature markets, such as the US and Europe,” explained Philipp Haas, chairman and CEO of Deva, the first sustainable mover to the US market to emerge from the Turkish industry.


“When preparing for such a strategy, we have anticipated the need to develop our manufacturing capabilities to serve not only the Turkish market, but also abroad. Currently, Deva manufacturing sites have US FDA approval. Since 2011, all our production facilities have also been approved by European health authorities, so we already operate under US and EU GMP standards, both for the Turkish and international markets,” Haas continued.


The country seems to have all the pieces in place for establishing a strong export sector. “The country possesses a well-educated, highly motivated, and professionally ethical workforce. This is very important in regard to exporting; establishing credibility with foreign regulators is imperative to our strategy,” Haas assured. “By leveraging Turkey’s image of professional reliability, we can circumvent many of the challenges being faced by other pharmerging markets.”


Deva is not alone in leveraging and exporting Turkey’s expertise, and the government’s gamble in protecting local industry seems to be paying off – Birgi Mefar and Berko Ilaç serve as other examples. “We did not shy away from entering the most advanced healthcare ecosystems,” says Berko Ilac’s general manager, Barış Özyurtlu. “We completed US FDA certification in 2016 and today we are providing our US and Canadian customers with our flagship iron solution FeriFer. We pride ourselves on being one the very few Turkey-based companies to already export products to North America. More importantly, we are delighted to highlight that it is our proprietary presentation form – Berko’s 5 ml single-use PET/PE spoon – that caught the attention of these partners, rather than our business development efforts.”


The government is dedicated to helping groups like Deva, Mefar and Berko Ilaç further penetrate international markets. “We have already reached a great milestone on the inspection side with Turkey’s entry into PIC/S (Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme), and we are now looking at replicating a similar success for regulatory matters,” exclaims Hakkı Gürsöz, president of the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TiTCK). “In this vein, we want to strengthen our collaboration and relationships with leading health organizations such as the WHO as well as with the most respected regulatory authorities in the world, including the US FDA and the EMA.”


Industry has noticed the government’s efforts. “In terms of exporting opportunities, the government is doing well to encourage the development of this area,” comments Gen Ilaç’s founder and chairman, Abidin Gulmus. Moving forward, the obstacle standing in between Turkey and the international marketplace will be the country’s ability to help their companies maximize profitability on the international stage.


“Unfortunately, foreign markets look at the price of our products in Turkey and ask for the same price, which is impossible to adhere to due to the discounted prices we sell our products to Turkey’s SGK to in order to be reimbursed,” mentions Koçak Farma’s CEO Hakan Koçak. “The only solution to this would be to keep the discounted price – which is on average reduced by 28 percent – a secret, in order to increase competition and fairness when exporting our products abroad.”

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