“Antibacterial and antiseptic are not the same concepts”

Merkez Pharmaceuticals, which provides contract manufacturing services to many companies in addition to its own products, continues to make a difference in the field of antiseptics and disinfectants. Seda Ekşi, General Manager of Merkez Pharmaceuticals, shared the information about the history of company and goals with our readers.

What is the history of Merkez Pharmaceuticals brand?
Merkez Pharmaceuticals (Merkez Laboratuvarı İlaç San. ve Tic. A.Ş.) was established in 1934. Pharm. Mehmet Şapçı is the current Chairman of the Board of Merkez Pharmaceuticals, which was founded by Atatürk’s pharmacist and Pharm. Emin Eman. Merkez Pharmaceuticals carried out its first production in 1938. In the 1950s, 130 types of galenic preparations reached nearly 40 preparations. Currently, we provide contract manufacturing services to many companies in addition to our own products in our 7000 square meter facility. We do not have a sales staff, we have a production and technical team of 100 people. I am the General Manager of the company as an employee of 27 years.

What are your product types?
The product groups we produce as medicinal products for human use are tablet, capsule, solution, nasal drops, nasal spray, oral solution, oral suspension, syrup, cream, gel, ointment, powder filling and chassis filling.

What makes Merkez Pharmaceuticals different from others?
 As Merkez Pharmaceuticals, we have the widest product range in Turkey in the field of antiseptic-disinfectants. We can claim that we are quite experts on this subject. In addition to medical products for human use, we also produce antiseptics suitable for human health and antiseptic disinfectants in the field of medical devices.

Working and producing under GMP conditions ensures product safety in the first degree. Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are an essential requirement for Medicinal Products for Human Use. The most important benefit we have brought to the sector is the effort to impose the obligation to produce antiseptic products used for humans under GMP conditions, after struggling for many years. These efforts gave their first results in September 2019 and were included in the Antiseptic Products Medical Devices Agency with the Presidential Decree (Decree No. 46/Official Gazette No. 13.09.2019/30887, Article 3). Now we continue the same struggle for the regulation of regulations. Because, as the Covid-19 situation has shown recently, hygiene is actually the most important issue for humanity. Naturally, products that provide hygiene should also be produced in reliable production facilities under the control of the Ministry of Health.

Do you have a special study for Covid-19?
 Our most important work for Covid-19 has been not to leave the market without products, thanks to our wide range of antiseptic products. We are a company that knows the importance of preventive medicine and makes it a habit to tell it. We think that this epidemic, which has affected the world, has reminded all humanity how important hygiene is. Therefore, by producing the most important product group of preventive medicine, we continue our efforts to raise public awareness with our promotions and shares. Although the Covid-19 outbreak teaches people that hygiene should always be in our lives, there are also things we should not forget. For example, antibacterial and antiseptic are not the same concepts. Naturally, there may be some confusion as the society’s perception adopts it in the direction of the same product group. Antiseptics are effective against viruses, while antibacterials are not long-acting and only effective against bacteria. Comparing the two products in terms of cost would be wrong.

The hospital microbe, largely caused by antiseptic disinfectants that are not suitable for their formula and produced under inappropriate conditions, unfortunately became the cause of death of 2 out of every 3 people who died in the hospital.

Could you inform us about your production capacity and export status?
Our production capacity is quite high and varies according to the product group. For this reason, it will not be possible for me to mention this one by one here. All I can say is that we use a maximum of 30% of our total capacity during normal working hours. Our annual antiseptic production capacity is 6 million kg. We want to be in all markets where we are able to export. In fact, we have serious work in this area.

What do you think about your target markets? What are your current position, strengths and plans in this market?
In general, we hope to achieve it step by step, as our goal is big. If we are supported as a 100% domestic company of 88 years, we can produce in very large quantities and take place in all markets. Because we think our goals are achievable. Let me mention our plans, our Chairman of the Board of Directors, Pharm. I can talk about our project that Mehmet Şapçı presented to our President. Our claim is: Domestic and foreign pharmaceutical factories in Turkey are definitely world class. It is very possible for Turkey to become the pharmaceutical production center of the world with its domestic and foreign pharmaceutical factories, to produce at the most economical prices, and to export the world’s drugs in all pharmaceutical forms and formulas to the relevant countries just in time and with sufficient capacity. Moreover, Turkey, which is the world’s pharmaceutical production center, will also become the world’s health tourism center through our city hospitals. Thus, Turkey will provide these people with the opportunity to regain their health in a way that will be much lower than the health expenditures in their homeland. Achieving these goals depends on us. Our company continues to walk on the right path with various slogans and projects. Our only expectation is the support to be given to this project.
As we always say, starting with our slogan “Hygiene is a must for health”, we will continue to support our ideas with our training, production, development and awareness-raising activities that we started to raise awareness of hygiene.”