“The Benefits of a Clinical Research Strategy for Turkey” report


According to “The Benefits of a Clinical Research Strategy for Turkey” report supported by AIFD: Turkey may become one of the top 10  countries that performs most clinical research in 2027

The report prepared by IQVIA with the support of the Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies Association in Turkey, reveals the economic, social and scientific benefits of clinical research. According to the report, with the development of clinical research infrastructure, capacity and skills Turkey can produce economic value worth USD 1 billion annualy from clinical research.

Established with the aim of increasing patient’s access to innovative medicines and therapies and ensuring ethical and transparent working environment health care the Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies Association (AIFD) represents 36 research-based companies.  With the support of AIFD, IQVIA completed the report of “Clinical Research Strategy for Turkey.” The findings of the report were presented at the TÜSEB Biotechnology Symposium held on Thursday, September 17th.

Opening speeches at the launch of the Report were made by Deputy Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Emine Alp Meşe, President of Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Turkey (TİTCK), Assoc. Dr. Tolga Tolunay, AIFD Chair of the Board, Dr. Mete Hüsemoğlu and EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll.  Following the presentation of the report by IQVIA Managing Director Şule Sencer Akbil, a panel titled “Importance of Clinical Trials for Turkey and Collaboration Model to Implement the Roadmap??” was held. The panel was moderated by Prof. Dr. Ahmet Gül from Faculty of Medicine at Istanbul University and hosted following panelists: Clinical Research Department Head Nihan Burul Bozkurt from TITCK, Kutluhan Taşkın General Manager for Programmes and Plans from Presidency of Strategy and Budget, Hasan Arslan,  Deputy General Manager for Public Hospitals from Ministry of Health, Prof. Dr. İlhan Satman, Acting President of TÜSEB- National Institutes of Turkey, and Özgür Ertok, IQVIA Consulting Country Manager.

AIFD Chairperson of the Board Dr. Mete Hüsemoğlu shared: “As research-based pharmaceutical companies, we see it as our main mission to work with all our stakeholders to ensure that patients in our country have access to the latest treatments. Clinical research, which enables us to understand the effect and safety of newly released drugs and treatments on humans, is vital for human health. We can say that our country has a significant clinical research capacity. One of the main findings of our report, which we are happy to share with the public, is that clinical research produces high added value in the fields of economy, health and science. Policies that we can implement in cooperation with the public-private sector can make our country one of the most important actors in the world in clinical research, as well as establish an ecosystem that contributes to other valuable links of the pharmaceutical value chain such as basic research, production and export. We believe that our report will be an important roadmap for all stakeholders on the way to obtain objectives for clinical research in Turkey. ”

Speaking at the panel Özgür Ertok, IQVIA Consulting Country Manager, stated that: ” we see that current investment of 139 million USD in clinical trials could be considered as foreign investment contributing to current account balance of Turkey, which is one of the main objectives of the New Economic Program. Taking into consideration our country’s clinical trial potential and considering the size of the world market, we can argue that this contribution can be substantially increased. To this end, there is a need for planning and creating an ecosystem to increase this amount to 500 million US dollars in the first stage and 1 billion US dollars in the second stage.”

Clinical trials, which are defined as scientific studies conducted with the participation of volunteers and aiming to obtain medical information, are among the most important processes that ensure the effectiveness and safety of newly released drugs in humans. The report was prepared with the aim of identifying the value of clinical research in Turkey and determining the necessary conditions for increasing clinical research investments in the medium-term, reveals the findings of the survey conducted with 17 AIFD members, as well as important data on the size of the Turkish pharmaceutical industry, R & D investments in the global pharmaceutical industry trends and clinical research, clinical trials’ impact on Turkey in terms of economy, science and public health.

The highlights of the report are listed as follows:

  • Turkey ranks 26th globally in terms of the number of clinical trials conducted annually whereas it ranks 17th in terms of pharmaceutical market.
  • At the moment, the total economic value of clinical research run in Turkey is estimated at USD 327.7 million (TRL 1,860.1 million) annually as of June 2019.
  • Clinical trials provide direct benefits to Turkey’s economy, health services and to patients.
  • Turkey can provide improvement in the main factors that will increase the attraction of clinical research.
  • In order for Turkey to take place among the top 10 clinical trial countries, it has to triple the number of clinical trials

Over 21 thousand patients across Turkey can find treatment opportunities in clinical research

  • Clinical trials create better health outcomes with their contribution to patients’ quality of life. Patients participating in clinical trials can benefit from the highest quality of service and the most advanced, even life-saving treatment methods.
  • Studies show that clinical trials produce more positive outcomes for patients involved, whether they are in the placebo or the test group.
  • Thanks to clinical trials, patients also have early access to innovative drugs, medical devices and treatments that can be used in the future.
  • Approximately 21,700 subjects are currently enrolled in clinical research in Turkey. The annual growth rate in the number of clinical trials is 1.2%, increasing the number from 521 in 2019 to 573 in 2027.

Clinical trials reduced financial burden of drugs on SSI by USD 41.8 million

  • The current value of clinical research in Turkey is estimated at USD 327.7 million (TRL 1,860.1 million) annually, with direct economic and broader societal effects (healthcare system and patients).
  • The clinical research investment of USD 139.0 million (TRL 788.8 million) made in Turkey directly contributes to a macro-economic equilibrium which is one of the key targets of the New Economic Program.
  • Number of active studies in Turkey showed an increase of about 3.6 percent compound growth rate in the last 10 years.
  • Thanks to clinical research, the reduced financial drug burden of the SSI corresponds to a total of 41.8 million USD (237.3 million TL). Thanks to ongoing clinical studies, this total financial burden on SSI is reduced every year.
  • Additional income for healthcare institutions from these clinical research resources amounts to USD 23.4 million (133.0 million TL) annually. The total estimated value of employment created through clinical research is estimated at USD 44.4 million per year (251.8 million TL).
  • Thanks to the implementation of the “rapid growth” scenario in clinical research field, Turkey is estimated to take place among the top 10 countries in terms of the total number of clinical trials in 2027. In terms of implementation of new trials, it can be among the first six or seven countries (following the US, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Canada, France and Italy).
  • Because the industry-supported clinical research in Turkey is largely carried out by multinational pharmaceutical companies, a major portion of the investment in clinical research is assessed as foreign direct investment. In this respect, clinical research investments directly contribute to maintaining the macroeconomic balance and improving the current account balance, which are among the main objectives of the New Economy Program. 

Clinical research provides the transfer of global knowledge to Turkey

  • Clinical research helps increase scientific development in Turkey, expands the knowledge base of science and accelerates the transfer of global knowledge to Turkey.
  • Turkish academicians participating in clinical research will gain knowledge and early experience on new treatments, as well as receive up-to-date training on the drug development process and new treatment areas, participate in international scientific networks, participate in international publications to be prepared at the end of the study and serve in national / international decision-making committees.
  • According to PubMed, which examines the trends of clinical research publications between 1995 and 2015, it is seen that the 30 countries publishing the highest number of scientific content produced 94.6 percent of all publications and constituted 98.1 percent of the main clinical journals globally. According to the same analysis Turkey, in “systematic review” and “meta-analysis” category, ranks 31st in 55 publications, while in “clinical studies” category ranks 18th in 671 publications, and with 19 thousand 963 in all publications published ranks in 17th place.
  • Data obtained from physicians participating in clinical trials are based on evidence rather than personal experience. For this reason, evidence-based data obtained when a physician participates in a clinical trial can serve as a source for other scientists who will later participate in the study. With increasing familiarity with rare diseases and specific cases, scientists can rely on more reliable data and experience in future treatment decisions.

To address the opportunities in all the improvement areas, a total of 12 recommendations are made as action steps

  • Establish a central patient database
  • Design a patient referral system
  • Raise public awareness
  • Streamline and centralize documentation and ethics committee submission
  • Reinforce implementation of ethical review standards
  • Build an investigator network
  • Increase capacity in a wider range of institutions
  • Provide formal education, academic incentives, career advancement opportunities
  • Revise R&D regulation
  • Establish clinical research centers with dedicated staff
  • Improve accounting systems in healthcare institutions
  • Increase incentives for companies to run clinical research in Turkey