Dissertation Abstracts

The local dynamics in the generic drug market in Turkey after the 2000s: An analysis on the production-consumption networks

Author: Hatice Ozer, hatice.ozer@msgsu.edu.tr
Department: Sociology
University: Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey
Supervisor: Aylin Dikmen Ozarslan
Year of completion: 2022
Language of dissertation: Turkish

Keywords: Local Drugs , Generic/Counterpart Drugs , Neoliberalism , Emotions
Areas of Research: Health , Local-Global Relations , Economy and Society


This study analyzes the production of “local and national drugs” that emerged frequently during the economic crises in Turkey and more intensively after the 2000s in an appeal to reduce public expenditure, focusing mainly on the micro relations and actors in the consumption network. This is assessed based on the opportunities that arose from developing a “national” drug market as a powerful alternative against the “global” drug market, and the experiences and occupational practices of the actors associated with local drugs. In 2016, following a joint announcement under the leadership of the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) and the Social Security Institution (SGK), the transition process from importing to the production/localization of drugs by producing local forms called “generic/counterparts” of the “original” drug whose patent protection duration had expired gained momentum. In this context, the thing which characterized the localization process of drugs was that instead of Research and Development (R&D) based on a new drug molecule, there was widespread use of generic/counterpart products based on Product Development (P&D) that focused on a partial variation in the existing molecules of the drug. As the production of generic/counterpart drug products did not require the long and costly R&D processes, the localization of production channels was shorter, which in turn made accessing lower cost drug products in a much shorter time a priority target. In fact, Turkey advancing from being an importer to an exporter in the Turkish drug market made the target of localizing an important vision for the future. The localization of drugs was not only key to producing drugs without being dependent on global drug companies, but also could be a tool for development. However, although this was an issue that was significantly consistent with the structural target that contained economical measures aimed at reducing public expenditure, as in the case of the entire world, it appears that Turkey was ineffective in the campaign against extreme and unnecessary drug consumption. Again, in this context the stance against the manipulation in widespread consumption of the local capital based generic/counterpart drug producers on the market, or the potential this entailed was not adequately analyzed. When assessing the localization process, the study included a total of 60 participants consisting of doctors or pharmacists working in Bagcilar, Istanbul, that was the focal point of this associativity and selected as the symbolic “localization space”, or representatives who were associated with local drug companies and worked in this district or had previous experience of working in this district. During the entire field studies, two main questions were used as guidance: (1) What does localization mean for drug representatives working in local companies and for the doctors and pharmacists that were in their field of activity, and how did this influence their occupational practices? (2) In terms of local drugs, would the consumption and expenditure of drugs, when taking into consideration the relationship between the doctors/pharmacists and patients, provide benefits that could be developed to public advantage?