TURKISH DRUG EXPORTS CONTINUE DYNAMIC GROWTH, BUT MARKET STILL RELIANT ON IMPORTS

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Turkish drug exports grew reached US$210.mn for the first nine months of 2005, an increase of 17.2%, as the sector benefited from closer ties with the EU and began to make an impression on the US market.

Export growth has been driven primarily by limited prospects for expansion in the domestic market, which has forced Turkish drugmakers to look for opportunities abroad, while the devaluation of the local currency has helped make their products increasingly competitive.

Industry observers claim that the export market is embarking on the "next stage" of development, as companies gain a foothold in Western Europe and the US. The growing implementation of international good manufacturing practices (GMP) guidelines has been instrumental to this process. However, regulatory shortcomings still exist, especially in areas such as data exclusivity, which will effect foreign investment and harm the progression of local industry.

Despite strong export growth, Turkey remains heavily reliant on imported medicines, especially innovative and hi-tech treatments. Imports stood at US$2.13bn through September 2005, an increase of 5.5%. The Turkish drug market is fragmented, and does not have the technical expertise or R&D to develop more expensive and specialized treatments.