Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

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Turkey’s pharmaceutical market became the 6th largest market in Europe and the 16th largest in the world in terms of sales in 2012. Pharmaceutical sales reached a stunning USD 12.5 billion, which means a CAGR of nearly 10 percent between 2003 and 2012.

Domestic and international investors are ramping up their new investments in the pharmaceutical sector to take advantage of Turkey’s attractive market where the healthcare industry and the pharmaceutical sector grew by 5.8 percent and 8.9 percent respectively from 2012 to 2013, while the growth in real GDP was 3.5 percent for the same period.

Turkey has one of the largest and youngest labor pools in Europe with more than 65 percent of the population aged between 24 and 54. The strength of Turkey’s labor force is reflected in the pharmaceutical sector. In the academic year 2011-2012, more than 41,000 students graduated from vocational training schools and universities in fields related to the pharmaceutical sector.

The Turkish healthcare system has undergone the largest transition in its history. The successes of health reform, namely the Health Transformation Program (HTP), have significantly improved the healthcare system and enhanced access to healthcare facilities.

The Universal Health Insurance (UHI) program was put in place to provide healthcare to every individual. As a result, the Social Security Institution (SGK) has become the number one buyer on the purchasing side of healthcare services.

A rapidly growing young population is one of the key factors driving demand for the healthcare sector. Over the next two decades, as the current young population of Turkey ages, there is likely to be a sharp rise in healthcare demand as almost 80 percent of a person’s healthcare requirements typically occur after the age of 40-50.

Turkey will experience a continued economic expansion and rising incomes which, in turn, will create more demand for health services and products. These increases are reflected in healthcare spending projections. According to Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecasts, the healthcare sector in Turkey is set to boom by a CAGR of 5.6 percent between 2013 and 2017, while most developed countries will be experiencing relatively lower growth rates. Turkey is also expected to surpass the forecasted world average with this growth rate.

The social security system now covers approximately 99 percent of the total population with 75.2 million people covered, which is an increase of 29 percent from 2002.

Investments in the healthcare sector are expected to continue as the government strives to increase the number of hospital beds per 10,000 population to 32 in 2023, up from the current number of 26.5. The Turkish government has also taken on an ambitious healthcare PPP program.

The Ministry of Health is planning to open health "free zones", which will include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, thermal tourism facilities, nursing houses, health techno-cities and R&D centers. These health "free zones" will be built in big cities where transportation will be relatively easy.

According to PPP professionals, Turkey is the second most attractive market globally for PPP projects in the medium to long-term.

Official targets to adopt and develop e-Health systems present significant investment opportunities for ICT infrastructure companies.

There are plans to increase health tourism revenue to USD 20 billion by 2023. As a result, healthcare spending per capita has been targeted to almost triple by 2023, reaching USD 2,000.

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