Roche Turkey loves women
Multinational company Roche, based in Switzerland, will be celebrating its 55th year in Turkey in 2013. It is one of those pharmaceutical firms that were the first to arrive in Turkey. It has an annual turnout of 35 billion euros.
When I learned that the company was the “sustainability leader” in the health sector, I met with the Turkey general manager, Dr. Süha Taşpolatoğlu, for more details.
Before discussing the sustainability topic, we talked about the future of the pharmaceutical sector in Turkey.
According to Dr. Taşpolatoğlu, Turkey is further attracting the attention of multinational companies with its growing – compared to the West – population, its growing economy and the easy access to medicine and doctors in recent years.
For example, the production center of Sanofi-Aventis in the northwest town of Lüleburgaz, with its 425 million boxes of medicine capacity, is one of the world’s important medicine production centers.
Besides production, Dr. Süha Taşpolatoğlu said research and development (R&D) work was also shifting toward developing countries, adding that only Roche broke the record in the pharmaceutical sector with 7.2 billion euros for R&D in 2010.
While the R&D research in the global pharmaceutical sector is shifting toward developing countries, there is a cutthroat struggle among BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) plus Turkey, South Korea and Mexico, in other words the E-7 (Emerging 7), to draw R&D investments.
He said, “India, China and Russia are in a competition to draw investments. Russia has determined its health strategy for 20 years. This strategy is a road map for the foreign investor.”
Turkey’s weakest point in R&D is that the cooperation between universities and industry is not quite strong.
The pharmaceutical sector’s total R&D investment is $120 billion and Turkey’s share is only $50 million.
According to the latest report of the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies about the pharmaceutical sector, Turkey is aiming to increase its R&D investment to $1.5 billion. In other words, there is a long way to go before us.
However, Dr. Süha Taşpolatoğlu is not pessimistic on this subject.
The product development department Roche set up in 2009 was cooperating with four universities at that time, whereas this figure has increased to 62 now.
If we go back to the original topic of “sustainability in the pharmaceutical sector,” Taşpolatoğlu said this concept has settled in the corporate culture.
He said, “We have changed our business model from top to bottom.” Roche employees have cut back on travel and they are holding their meetings by video conference.
Energy consumption has declined 25 percent between the years 2009 and 2011. Out of everything Taşpolatoğlu conveyed the practice that appealed to me the most was about female employees.
Roche, among its global targets, has decided to increase by at least 50 percent the number of female leaders in important positions. However, Roche Turkey’s number of female employees is already high.
Out of the total number of employees, 38 percent are women, out of the total of executives, 43 percent are women. In top management, this figure reaches 60 percent.
I congratulate Roche Turkey for its viewpoint on women.