Turkish pharmaceutical market is a sizable one where 300 different companies currently operate to provide pharmaceutical products for the needs of a population of 75 million people. The volume of the market has already exceeded USD$ 9 billion which places Turkey to the 6th rank in Europe and 16th in the world in terms of market scale.
Despite the growth of the Turkish pharmaceutical market in recent years, the problem of pricing still poses a serious problem for the industry. Since 2009 the Euro-TL exchange rate which currently stands at 3.04 TL/Euro as of mid January 2014, has been fixed at the exchange rate of 1.96 TL/Euro for the public purchases for the pharmaceutical products. A change was introduced in order to redress the problem however with no avail. The change that was adopted in 2012 on the regulation that deals with the pricing of the pharmaceutical products did not solve the problem but only reaffirmed the reference pricing system that dates back to 2004. This pricing system comes up with the price on the basis of the lowest price offered to the warehouse in Turkey by the foreign drug provider and the lowest price in the country that the pharmaceutical product was produced or imported. The frequent fluctuations in the exchange rates only exacerbates the problem of the pricing.
This causes complaints on the part of the producers of the pharmaceutical products and generates problems related with the public access to some of the medicines. The recent news cite almost 470 different pharmaceutical products as difficult to find in the drugstores due to the shortages. Especially some of the cutting edge bio technology drugs are not being introduced in to the Turkish market due to this problem of pricing. Both the State bodies and the Turkish Pharmacists’ Association propose alternative solutions for the problem of shortages.
The New Draft Regulation
A new regulation planned by the Ministry of Health is planning to grant permission to the private companies to import pharmaceutical products from abroad. Currently the Turkish Pharmacists’ Association holds the monopoly to import drugs to Turkey. The Council of Economic Coordination which have recently taken the issue in to consideration decided to issue a new directive on the import of pharmaceutical products to Turkey. According to the draft directive the Social Security Institution will organize a tender on an annual basis where the companies and the institutions that have been authorized by the Ministry of Health will be able to bid. The rest of the process will be handled by the Social Security Institution itself.
Turkish Pharmacists’ Association have recently made a statement that it is ready to play an active role for the solution of the problem of the pharmaceutical products shortages. Turkish Pharmacists’ Association statement said it is ready to produce the drugs which’s patents have been expired and it proposed a solution based on a creation of a mechanism that would reconcile the problem of pricing and the exchange rates to one another.