How Pharma is reshaping with COVID-19

By Alyssa Pearl Clarke

Almost all industries around the globe have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic upheaval caused by the global health crisis has forced businesses to permanently close their doors, which resulted in mass lay-offs, and essentially transformed the way we live. The world’s economy is without a doubt in trouble, as the BBC reports that the global economy shrank by 4.4% in 2020 and that most countries are now experiencing a major recession.

However, one industry has managed to evade the severe economic consequences caused by the pandemic and has taken centre stage during these distressing times — the pharmaceutical industry. Despite the downward trend in today’s financial markets, pharmaceutical companies are seeing positive growth, and innovation in the industry is very much alive and well.

The vaccine development process has changed for the better

Effective and safe vaccines are key to eliminating the COVID-19 virus. Because the pandemic has spread all over the world in record time, the pharmaceutical industry had to circumvent the usual bottlenecks that plagued the vaccine development process. Before the pandemic hit, the traditional approach for vaccine development took as long as 15 years to finish. Vaccine safety and efficacy cannot be rushed, and the only way to produce vaccines in a non-pandemic setting had to go through large-scale, long-term, controlled clinical trials, as well as a rigorous regulatory process. But because of the ongoing pandemic, pharmaceutical companies had to find a way to accelerate the vaccine development process.

A post by The Guardian notes that one of the key reasons why we were able to develop COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year was because pharmaceutical companies didn’t need to worry about the cost of developing a vaccine. Money from both private and public institutions poured in to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and the usual financial issues that slowed down vaccine development were effectively squashed. In addition, pharmaceutical companies also had to collaborate, create meaningful partnerships with other institutions, and use innovative technologies to enable novel ways of conducting vaccine clinical development. As a result, this has given birth to the ideal vaccine development model that we can use to address future pandemics and widespread health issues.

COVID-19 has accelerated the Pharma industry’s digital transformation

Digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry took some time before it was fully adopted. This isn’t to say that the technology didn’t exist before the pandemic hit, but the pre-pandemic conditions didn’t really require digital transformation to be as widespread. However, digital and data analytics tools are crucial to helping us weather the pandemic, and it is crucial that all the positives we encounter are extrapolated and recorded for us to learn lessons from.

It is also important that we achieve digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry, as an article about how COVID has impacted the financial markets on FXCM points out that the re-emergence of a widespread second wave is causing anxiety among practically every financial market on the planet. Thankfully, there is so much support right now for digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry, as companies like Pfizer continue to invest their money in biotechnology innovation. This allows them to enhance their therapeutic product portfolios and encourage other companies and private investors to put money into pharmaceutical development.

Without a doubt, the pharmaceutical industry has experienced an unbeatable win streak during these depressing times. Moving towards a post-pandemic society, we will have pharmaceutical companies that are insanely resilient and are well prepared to handle any future health issues that may cause widespread economic disruption.