Health care in Turkey is being developed under the 2003-2013 Health Transformation Program which is part of the EU harmonization package. The purpose of this program is to improve health care quality and efficiency and to increase accessibility by introducing a series of reforms. Harmonization with EU regulations and modernization of the sector will lead to significant opportunities.
In 2009, annual expenditure on health care amounted to$ 38 billion, 6.2% of total GDP. The pharmaceuticals market, an important part of the sector as a whole, reached a turnover of
$ 10.8 billion in 2009. The pharmaceuticals industry comprises 49 manufacturers, 13 of which are foreign investors. The industry employs about 25,000 people. Turkey’s pharmaceuticals industry ranks as the 16th largest worldwide and the 6th largest in Europe, after Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.
As the population in Turkey grows faster than it does in the EU, the forecasts are that total health expenditure will increase to approximately $ 63 billion in 2014. This amount would be substantially higher if the government did nothing to reduce public health care expenses. The total turnover on the pharmaceuticals market is expected to reach $ 22.8 billion by the end of 2015, while the forecast for the medical devices market for 2015 is $ 3.12 billion.
Health care infrastructure is greatly improved by a rapid increase in the number of private hospitals.
‘Domain Hospitals’ are the new trend in Turkish health care: care teams specialized in a particular health care domain offer patients ‘one-stop-shop’ treatment. Turkish ‘domain hospitals’ specializing in ophthalmology, aesthetics and infertility are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and the neighboring countries, due to the much lower surgery charges.
It is estimated that in 2015, the turnover of private and public Turkish medical institutions will hit the $ 8 billion mark, due to the expected increase in the number of foreign patients from about 200,000 to 1,000,000. While ‘health care tourism’ is growing rapidly in Turkey, Turkish ‘domain hospitals’ also open up branches in European countries where they provide competitive services for European patients.
New incentives for investors
Turkey has also introduced new incentives to attract foreign investors in the Turkish health care sector. For example, new legislation provides new incentives for investment in pharmaceuticals R&D, and complicating procedural requirements that used to apply for foreign investors have been abolished: foreign enterprises are no longer required to get approval from the Foreign Investments General Directorate (FIGD) for the transfer of shares or for the establishment of a new company with foreign capital.
In addition to the reforms in the Turkish Commercial Code and the health care system, the increase in health consciousness, the availability of skilled labor, increasing population, decreasing mortality rates and better demographic indicators are all factors that make it more attractive to invest in Turkey’s health care.
Along with the Turkish health care sector, which will certainly continue to grow in the coming years, business opportunities will grow for Turkish as well as for international enterprises.