5 Lessons Pharma Should Learn from The COVID-19 Pandemic

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5 Lessons Pharma Should Learn from The COVID-19 Pandemic

5 Lessons Pharma Should Learn from The COVID-19 Pandemic – 2020 has indeed been a surprising year with Coronavirus affecting millions of people. The pharmaceuticals industry has been severely affected like any other business, With sharp rise and fall of demand for medicines, the pharma businessmen are facing a lot of ups and downs. In this post, Apikos Pharma shares you 5 lessons pharma should learn from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Top Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic For Pharma Industry to Learn

Here, we list you some good lessons that this pandemic has taught pharma business people.

Lesson 1: Pharma Needs to Better Understand Patient Journeys and Develop Holistic Solutions that Combine Diagnostics, Devices and Pharmaceuticals

Assuming that no vaccine will be available soon, no single product will bring a solution, calling for holistic solutions that combine diagnostics, devices and several classes of drugs.

The COVID-19 example can be generalized to diseases that can be impacted by NGS (Next Generation Sequencing), PHC/Biomarkers (Personalized Health Care), as well as to chronic diseases where early intervention can improve longer term outcomes. This highlights the greater need to understand a patient’s journey and develop holistic solutions, including diagnostics, devices and drugs.

Lesson 2: Annual Financial Budgeting Exercises Are Even Less Valuable Under Extreme Volatility

In the past, health care companies used a mix of bottom-up and top-down processes to budget for the next fiscal year, and then made quarterly revisions during the year. Nowadays, both on the revenue side and on the expense side, volatility is more of a rule than the exception.

Lesson 3: The Traditional Product Life Cycle (PLC) Concept will be even more Challenged due to Shorter and/or Asynchronous Multi-market PLCs

The pharma industry has been used to long life cycles with a decade of pre-clinical and clinical research, drug development and approval, followed by the launch phase years and the maturity phase and finally ending with patent expiry and the post-patent phase. With LCM, pharma companies were able to repeat this sequence for multiple indications.

In certain areas, agile, scalable production capacity and dominance in the supply chain may become a source of sustainable competitive advantage instead of patented molecules in R&D.

Lesson 4: Pharma needs to Further Fragment Interaction Models as Customers Experience New ‘Journeys’

Specialists in digital marketing claim that the confinement of sales reps due to COVID-19 will mean the death of the classic sales rep in favor of digital tools. The question is: What will happen with face to face communication once the pandemic is over or at least reduced? Will sales reps stay in their home office instead of resuming visiting physician offices once confinement is over?

Quality of the medical input is certainly of a higher standard with MSLs and medical call centers. But historically developed personal relations with sales reps means the interaction can be easier.

What will future interaction modes look like? The answer is: “It depends”, and for sure the answer is: “There will be many more interaction modes, not a single one.” Which type of interaction will be most efficient and effective for one particular touch point depends on various aspects:

  1. The issue the customer is facing
  2. What stage in the customer experience journey he/she is in, what they are doing, thinking, feeling
  3. Personal and cultural preferences of the customer
  4. Past experiences the customer has had with different interaction models
  5. Whether the customer is ‘one’ or customers are ‘multiple’ stakeholders

Lesson 5: Pharma Needs to Explore Contingencies To Quickly Recover From any Potential Disruption in Clinical Trials in The Future

The normal running of trials is affected by three factors during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Some patients with chronic diseases are refraining from seeing their prescribers as they are afraid of contracting COVID-19, which is generally known to be riskier for patients with comorbidities. Trials which require regular follow-up of patients in chronic diseases may not be possible, which will disrupt data gathering.
  2. The regular functioning of hospitals is challenged due to the reorganization of certain wards. Prescribers and clinical researchers may feel it is not the time to enrol patients in trials as many HCPs are under time pressure. Additionally, a stressed and confined population may not react in the same way to medication. And, Medical Science Liaisons, who in many countries can support prescribers with information on patient enrolment in trials, will not be able to engage in regular face to face discussions.
  3. Finally, trials which require substantial support from diagnostic labs may encounter difficulties getting a rapid service, as a lot of labs are focusing on the rapid turnaround time of PCR testing for COVID-19. In general, supplies, reagents, masks, swabs, are in scarce supply in many countries, which means staff is immobilized in less productive supply chain management challenges.


Pharma companies may need to set up contingency plans in order to attempt to catch up time by enrolling a greater number of patients once the pandemic retracts. There is a clear need for competitive intelligence in disease areas with small patient potentials. Some pharma companies may be tempted to continue enrolment; others will not want to challenge their relationships with realists. Build a strong business plan for a better future,


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