Post-COVID-19 thinking: outputs from a thought leader forum

On 14 May 2020, a group of industry experts across pharma and biotech Zoomed together to share reflections on the impact of COVID-19 so far and the implications for how we should evolve in the coming months and years.

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Biggest impact of COVID-19

  • COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how the industry works; maintaining individuals’ well-being and finding the best ways to integrate digital has challenged many companies
  • Clinical trials have been affected, in particular, recruitment and progress. It was also noted that certain metrics and data collection are likely to be affected and may have an impact on future regulatory submissions
  • Our forum concluded that in general we expect sales of established medicines to be above expectations, with newer therapies likely to be behind budget, due mainly to patients not attending clinic and a reduced new/switched/repeat dynamic

Biggest concerns

  • We highlighted concern that future pricing may be affected. Government debt has been affected by COVID-19 and this may impact future pricing negotiations and also see a quicker transition to outcomes-based pricing
  • Our recommendation is that the industry needs to continue to build trust. Vaccine and COVID-19 treatment costs will be high-profile negotiations and may affect reputation or profits. There is an opportunity for the industry to transition its reputation from medicines developers to healthcare providers
  • The industry needs to evolve how it works digitally, but we don’t expect a revolution, rather a gradual upskilling of organisations and of its people to enable more effective working. How this is done, however, is still uncertain, and is an opportunity for better collaboration

Biggest opportunities

  • We concluded that re-shaping how the field force evolve and work is a huge opportunity for the industry to add more value to society. How to add value through a truly multi-channel approach is an exciting opportunity for our industry, and a key opportunity for future discussion
  • The industry has spent millions on congress attendance for so many years. How the industry has recently operated offers an opportunity to re-think how to engage with congresses, but more importantly how to engage with healthcare professionals throughout the year. We don’t see a time when congresses are not important, but whether medical communications are anchored to congresses in the future is an opportunity to explore
  • It’s difficult to predict the new normal, but we know digital and user experience will be critical to effective commercialisation. This provides an exciting opportunity for our industry to create compelling digital experiences for brand and organisations to communicate with their audiences
  • We expect increased pricing pressure in the future. The organisations that adapt best, by providing real-world evidence, outcomes-based evidence and pricing, and support service re-design, will lead the future industry

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