The Past, the Present and the Future of Public Relations Activities in Turkish Health Care Sector

Bilgen Basal Pekin (Assistant Professor of Public Relations at the Department of Communication Management) presented her paper titled ‘The Past, The Present and the Future of PR activities in Turkish Health Care Sector’ at the International History of Public Relations Conference. The conference meetings were held at Bournemouth University in June 2012. The abstract of the presented study is as follows:

“Turkish health care industry deserves a special review having the world’s 13th and Europe’s 6th biggest pharmaceuticals market on turnover basis. It is expected to be one of the largest 10 markets with the market growth between 10% to 15% each year for the next decade. Turkey’s large and rapidly growing population, as well as increasing average life expectancy, increasing elderly population and low drug consumption offers significant growth opportunities. This exploratory study examines the historical development of public relations activities in Turkish health care sector before and after the proclamation of Turkish Republic in 1923 emphasizing the importance of folk medicine culture in Anatolia throughout the history. Findings reveal that creativity, sustainability, holistic and strategic thinking within the social and ethical boundaries are always the key for the success in a sensitive industry such as healthcare industry. Here, the objective is to generate a positive corporate image, increase awareness and maintain an overall corporate reputation rather than to increase the sales. It is found that Turkish public relations gain momentum in 1990s with the adoption of international media monitoring, measurement, professional and ethical standards. Hereafter, development of Turkish PR industry had been accelerated and we started hearing about corporate communication. Findings show that healthcare PR has started to understand the world with genomics and life engineering concepts and it has become scientific based and symptom elevated supporting the quality of life. Non-governmental organizations, internal communication and crisis management are other noteworthy issues. At the end of this study, ingredients of a new reputation formula are projected basing on the sydicated research results and the historical findings.”