Turkey’s Ministry of Health commenced the "healthcare market" project in order to supply medical devices en masse which is the second largest cost item after medicines. From now on, all of the materials required by hospitals will be provided by the State Supply Office (DMO). It is assumed that a high amount of money could be saved by ordering devices en masse, which cost millions in separate tenders.
On the request of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance from all public institutions to economise in expenditures, the Ministry of Health has sped up the work for the project “healthcare market”. In this regard, the personnel of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency of Turkey provided training for the DMO Laboratory personnel on medical device analysis.
The project foresees that, in case of need, a hospital can receive medical devices and materials from the DMO. It is reported that the medical devices would be purchased en masse and stocked more cheaply than having separate tenders.
Production of “native and national vaccines, medicines, and medical devices” is one of the most highly regarded investment items in the second phase of the transformation in healthcare, a process started years ago by the ruling AKP government that involves an eventual full privatisation of the healthcare system, abandoning patients and people to private companies as customers. The aim to export products with high added value is often brought into the agenda by authorities.
This context begs several questions: Under which conditions the DMO negotiated with the suppliers? Will there be a pricing policy independent of exchanges rates in en masse purchases? Are the “city hospitals”, the liability to provide equipment, maintenance and repair of whose infrastructure is with the contractor company, within the scope of the “healthcare market” project?
As for the question of whether Turkey can be a centre for manufacturing medical devices, it is obvious that international monopolies such as General Electric (USA) or Siemens (Germany) dominate the medical device market in Turkey. The notion of “native production” basically indicates the negotiation process for these companies to manufacture directly or indirectly in Turkey. Should the aim in question is realised, the manufacturing process is expected to involve producing standard pieces in Turkey while continuing to import the main technological parts in exchange for a guarantee of a “safe market” and “profit”, just as in other high-technology sectors.