New investment incentives to reduce medical device, technology imports


The medical device investments supported by the Project-Based Incentive System, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Monday, is projected to improve Turkey’s current account deficit by $700 million annually, Leyla Alaton, the chairman of Alvimedica, a Turkish company that produces health care devices, said yesterday.

Alaton said that the first stage of the investment, which covers reservoir and polymer-free medicated stent production, will start toward the end of 2018, adding that the entire technological infrastructure for medicated stents will be gradually brought to Turkey in the coming years.Involved in interventional cardiology, Alvimedica, one of the 19 companies supported by the Project-Based Incentive System that Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım introduced, has carried out a remarkable project with an investment of $1.526 billion in health technology.As a result of the incentive it will receive in the system, which is also called a super incentive, Alvimedica will start various catheter, medicated stent and cardiac valve production in an attempt to reduce Turkey’s external dependency in this area.

Explaining that Alvimedica meets 7 percent of Turkey’s medicated stent requirement, Alaton said the remaining part is mostly by U.S.-based firms. According to Alaton, in 2017, nearly 362,000 stents were sold to the state in the form of the Social Security Institution (SGK). Some 53,000 of these stents have old technology and are bare metal, which are decreasing in use, while the use of bare metal stents in Europe is almost nonexistent. The remaining 309,000 are medicated stents and a large portion with the highest added value are imported. This is why the introduction of medicated stent technology to Turkey is essential in terms of supply security. When the medicated stent market is priced through the Health Practice Statement, the government spends TL 200 million ($48.21 million) per year, 93 percent of which is paid for imported products.

Alaton said the investment will boost medicated stent production capacity and reduce the cost of production per unit compared to current costs, adding that this is important in terms of price advantage and domestic product preference in contracts.

He said that some foreign medicated stent firms sell products with old technology in Turkey. “While these products are not preferred in the U.S. and Europe in recent years because they are inferior products compared to the new one, they can be a topic of contracts in our country that use the price advantage stemming from the old technology.”Alaton said Alvimedica will be able to have both a price advantage and fully use technological superiority, which determines limits in medicated stent technology. “The first stage of investment, which covers reservoir and polymer-free medicated stent production, will start toward the end of 2018. The entire technological infrastructure for medicated stents will gradually be brought to our country in the coming years. In addition, after the development of interventional mitral cardiac valves, which are still being tested on animals, we will start investments in the factory where we will produce cardiac valves and plan to start production in 2023.”

Alaton also said they will employ 300 qualified staff as part of the investment, adding that a large portion of them will have technical knowledge and equipment. She said that medical faculties and occupational institutions in Turkey will satisfy this need.She said that 4,000 direct and 14,000 indirect jobs will be created through the investment. “We estimate to improve the current account deficit by $700 million on an annual basis through the investment. Although it will be relatively lower in the first years, it will grow over the years with the completion of the investment.”

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