2018 was a year of change in the economic balance across the world, and the developing economies were highly impacted from the resulting uncertainties. The exchange rate fluctuations, which we began seeing in Turkey in 2017 continued at a greater rate last year and because the inputs are priced in foreign currency, the pharmaceutical industry was one of the most affected by these fluctuations. Despite tough challenges, DEVA Holding completed year 2018 successfully ranking in second place, with 6.4% market share in terms of volume, according to IQVIA free market volume data (free market + tenders).
In recent years, DEVA Holding has been undergoing a process of rapid change and growth. We have transformed from a mainly antibiotics-oriented company in early 2000s to, now, a company with a growing focus on respiratory, ophthalmology, cardiology and hematology/oncology therapy areas based on a better understanding of the evolving needs of patients. We have strengthened our product portfolio with new approvals and products for the medical community in 2018. As an indigenous pharmaceutical company, we are aware of our responsibility and the positive contribution that we have been making to the health economy with our equivalent products which add value by offering cost-effective treatments.
We are working to offer affordable treatments in not only Turkey but also on a global scale. We are working to expand our footprint in our current markets while taking business opportunities to expand to new markets. As of yearend 2018, we have more than 600 product approvals in nearly 60 countries. Also, we are exporting drugs and pharmaceutical raw materials to more than 40 countries. Our Swiss affiliate Devatis AG has been registered and become operational. After beginning export of two products to the USA, the world’s largest pharmaceutical market, in 2017, we established our US affiliate, Devatis, Inc., increasing the momentum of our operations in that market. We are confident that the fruits of these efforts will be forthcoming in the near future.
During our times of growing importance of localization in the pharmaceutical industry, we are contributing to our national economy as a rare example of a company that adopted vertical integration and employing approximately 2200 people across our extensive facilities. We have grown our annual output to 240 million cartons, from 60 million cartons 10 years ago. We continue investing in different products / product forms, while increasing our output every year. Our manufacturing plants, boasting an annual output capacity of 515 million cartons, are regularly inspected by national and international health authorities. We take utmost care to meet the requirements of these inspections, which certify the quality and safety of our products at each instance, working to ensure sustainability of our accomplishments. Our new logistics hub, erected to allow distribution of all products from a central location, has become operational and was recently granted EU GMP approval. We are proud to have established Turkey’s largest pharmaceutical logistics hub.
At DEVA, the importance we place on R&D and our investments in this area are a key driver of success for a robust product portfolio. We maintain our focus in this area and continue our investments at a growing rate for sustainable success. In 2018, we reinvested approximately 6% of our sales in R&D. Our R&D teams, who are experts in their respective fields, work in state-of-the-art laboratories, developing innovative new forms and products, working in collaboration with reputable institutions and universities. We believe our investments make a difference in this area, and we pursue joint projects with TÜBİTAK in areas such as biotechnology.
We believe that healthy living is key to a healthy future, and we maintain our sensitivity to the social development of our community. We encourage broader awareness of healthy living, and support advances and improvements on environmental issues, developing projects in these areas. We will continue working with nongovernmental organizations on joint projects where we achieved good results.
As we are leaving 60 years behind us with pride and many accomplishments, we continue evolving with new investments, new markets and new products. We are continually taking growth opportunities while making plans to enhance efficiencies, supporting innovation and diversifying our human resources. In the future, we will continue setting the bar higher, achieving our growth targets and remaining a robust and reliable partner.
Chairman of the Board of Directors