Dear friends, I attended a congress with Turkey’s leading pharmacists this weekend. A ship departing from Çeşme port hosted the PHARMASEA event where more than 400 pharmaceutical professionals had the chance to listen to a conference on the latest advancements in their profession and to an economics seminar delivered by me. I would like to thank the scientific committee of the congress, especially Mr. Çetin Öztürk and his team.
Today, I would like to share with you the economic-professional details I noted down during the three-day congress.
First, let’s take a look the economic aspect of the situation:
Although Greece seems to be one of the cheapest countries for a holiday in Europe, when dining even in a modest Greek restaurant, a group of four visitors pay a check which is almost equal to the minimum wage in Turkey, due to the low value of Turkish lira. Apparently, the tensions between the two countries have not affected anyone except for the government leaders and officials. Shop owners are extremely hospitable and treat their customers in a quite friendly manner. The speakers at the PHARMASEA congress complained about the ever-increasing drug prices and complementary health products. In my speech, I said, “You sell products with inflexible prices, but if prices go up too much, demand can be affected”. As you know, the pharmaceutical industry also offers anti-aging products to consumers, which prices are also quite high. I frankly cannot quite tell whether people will have to give up on medications or these products first. In times of income drops and high inflation, people tend to remove some expenditures from their priority list. I stated, in my speech, that it is necessary to make an analysis of the products sold in pharmacies, accordingly, reminding that top selling products should always be available at a pharmacy.
As for the professional aspect of the situation:
Among the pharmacists who attended the congress, there were those who work in hospitals and those who own and run pharmacies. While hospital pharmacists were complaining about the low wages, pharmacy owners were quite concerned about high rents, high utility bills and other costs. We agreed upon the fact that opening a retail pharmacy in newly developing urban areas might nevertheless be a bad idea, considering low costs in these areas, people’s overall healthcare needs as well as the insufficient number of hospitals and low bed capacity. Unfortunately, today the pharmacy rents in the city centres are drastically high. No pharmacist wants to switch to another profession , but they should be more careful than before.
“Training Competent Pharmacists Is An Important Task”
Quite interestingly, pharmacies have been supplying large amounts of foreign currency to the country for some time now. The foreign customer ratio of some pharmacies in big cities has surpassed 50%. Almost every sector of the healthcare industry is helping to improve Turkey’s current account deficit. Most likely, this situation will lead to the recruitment of more foreign employees. I think these developments should be followed closely.
As Topkapı University, we have been preparing for the launch of a school of pharmacy. Having reviewed the notes that I have taken during this congress, I do believe, stronger than ever, how important of a task it is to train competent pharmacists.
I have to take my hat off to Mr. Nihat Kırmızı, Chair of Topkapı University Board of Trustees, for he has an impeccable vision to establish a pharmacy school at our institution.
I am expecting that we will receive a large number of applications from many academics to be a part of our pharmacy faculty. We will be posting job ads very soon for new positions.