InTouch
September / October 2017

ISPE Turkey Affiliate - A Decade of Achievement

Mike McGrath
Article - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering

Since the Turkish pharmaceutical industry began applying good manufacturing practices and other international standards in 1984, its performance has been strong. Today, Turkey is home to 300 pharmaceutical companies and 31,000 employees, which produce more than 11,000 products at 67 production facilities and export to 160 countries—largely the European Union, Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East, and North Africa.

In many ways, the Turkey Affiliate’s performance has been equally strong. Its 11-year history has been filled with growth, accomplishment, and an unrelenting commitment to deliver maximum value to members.

International Recognition

Founded in late 2005, the affiliate has garnered recognition both from ISPE and the Turkish pharmaceutical industry. At the 2016 ISPE Annual Meeting & Expo, ISPE Turkey was a co-recipient of the annual Affiliate and Chapter Excellence Award—the second time in its brief history to receive this award. In 2007 ISPE recognized the affiliate for its rapid growth in membership and commitment to the society’s global objectives. It also received a 2011 Golden Mortar Award, the “Academy Awards” of the Turkish pharmaceutical sector. In addition, Affiliate Chair Fatma Taman, was recently appointed to ISPE’s International Board of Directors.

ISPE Turkey has also been instrumental in developing educational programs to help build the country’s next generation of pharmaceutical technicians and engineers. The affiliate first helped introduce a pharmaceutical technician curriculum at the vocational high school level in 2008, followed by a project to develop a university-level pharmaceutical engineering curriculum with Istanbul University’s Faculty of Pharmacy. “This was a national education project conducted with the consent of the country’s Higher Education Council,” says Affiliate Secretary Buket Hekiman Bayraktar. “It was established for the future of our industry.” The affiliate additionally supports a student chapter at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Pharmacy.

 

Members of the Turkey Affiliate
Members of the Turkey Affiliate, 2016 Affiliate and Chapter Excellence Award co-recipient, with Joe Famulare, outgoing Board
chair (second from right) and John Bournas, ISPE CEO and President (right)

Full Spectrum Of Industry Professionals

Having celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2015, the affiliate has benefited from increased exposure in the media, including trade magazines and websites, as well as a live television interview on Bloomberg Turkey. The resultant publicity boosted membership to 150 members at the end of 2016, more than a 20% increase.

According to Bayraktar, the affiliate’s membership is a good representation of the spectrum of pharmaceutical industry professionals in Turkey. “It is not just colleagues from pharmaceutical companies that are present in our affiliate; we also have suppliers and academicians,” she says. “ISPE is based on the necessity for pharmaceutical industry, suppliers, academicians, and authorities to meet on a common platform. So, we have this representation at our affiliate as well.”

The affiliate has also developed a strong relationship with the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TMMDA), the regulatory body for pharmaceuticals in Turkey. “We are now on the official list at the Ministry of Health, resulting in very successful and interactive participation at all related meetings,” says Affiliate Chair Fatma Taman. “The TMMDA now consults with us frequently, because they respect ISPE as an objective and trustworthy organization that benefits the pharmaceutical industry.” Following a videoconference training organized for TMMDA, 36 delegates— including the head of the agency—applied for ISPE membership and now regularly attend the affiliate’s educational events.

Seminars, workshops, and networking events are held about once every two months. Seminars involve globally recognized speakers and are based on hot topics—either engineering or quality—depending on current regulations or upcoming requirements. The affiliate also has working groups on topics such as process analytical technologies and quality by design. In 2016, two new working groups were started on quality metrics and data integrity; this was followed by the “excellence in pharma engineering” working group founded in 2017.

In 2016, the affiliate also introduced industry sector meetings. “These are conducted as afternoon meetings by professionals in the pharmaceutical and related industries,” explains Bayraktar. “We discuss current topics. The last one, for example, was about Industry 4.0, which is something that will influence the whole industry and is quite important for our country’s development as well.”

ISPE TURKEY AFFILIATE: QUICK FACTS

Founded: 2005
Region: Turkey, Eastern Europe, and Western Asia Membership: 200+
Events: At least 6 per year

Chair: Fatma Taman, Member, ISPE International Board of Directors
Vice-Chair: Buket Aksu, Istanbul Kemerburgaz University
Secretary General: Buket Hekiman Bayraktar, PharmaVision
Turkey Affiliate Office Manager: Gizem Yeğen

Members: İlknur Gümüşeli Hırçın, Bayer Türk Company; Devrim Çavuşoğlu, Pfizer; Havva Çınar Aşar, Bayer Türk Company; Figen Ergin, BTS; Tanju Cepheli, BASF Türk; Prof. Dr. Yıldız Özsoy Erginer, Istanbul University; Fahrettin Kazak, PharmaVision; Banu Refik, Convalgroup; Hülya Uslu, Consultant

Looking Ahead

Both Taman and Bayraktar acknowledge ongoing challenges, such as limited industry training budgets. In addition, unfavorable exchange rates between the Euro and Turkish Lira translate into unusually high fees for Turkish members. “We are an emerging economy and foreign exchange rates are high, so companies are reluctant to send their employees to trainings outside of Turkey,” says Taman.

They are optimistic nonetheless.

“One of our aims for 2017 is to really establish the Young Professionals group in Turkey,” says Bayraktar. “We expect to be more active with our working groups and will provide more training on a variety of subjects. We already have strong interaction with our regulatory authority and we will continue to highlight this going forward.”

“In the next two to three years, we want to strengthen our relationship with TMMDA to obtain a sustainable contribution of the regulators at ISPE’s global activities,” says Taman. “We will also reach out to Young Professionals and intend to establish a ‘Women in Pharma’ chapter of our affiliate, and try to meet their technical and managerial training needs.”

Taman points out that the affiliate’s activities with YPs and women will feature more than training. “Our goal is to bring peers together and create networking possibilities that each and every one of them can use for the benefit of their companies and their own careers,” she says.