Pharmaceutical professionals say employee safety and supply chain disruption are top COVID-19 concerns in latest GlobalData survey

Pharmaceutical industry professionals around the world believe that employee safety and supply chain disruption are their businesses’ number one concerns from COVID-19, the latest survey data from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, suggests.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Sector Impact: Pharmaceutical Trade and Supply Chain Survey – Q1 2020’, reveals that 21% of global respondents believe that employee safety will be the biggest impact from COVID-19 on their companies. A total of 20% cite the pandemic’s impact on supply chains as their biggest worry.

Fiona Barry, Associate Editor, PharmSource at GlobalData, commented: “The risk of employees catching the disease at work is a factor. Shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) worldwide are affecting clinical workers.

“Safety measures during the pandemic make it difficult to move employees between sites. Furthermore, training new, highly skilled employees to replace quarantined workers brings a high cost.”

The industry’s other major concerns were clinical trial disruption (cited as the main concern by 16% of respondents); business development (10%), and contract research organization (CRO) disruptions (10%). The survey revealed differences in business priorities between company types.

Barry continues: “Concerns about sales representatives’ access to physicians and business development were understandably highest among companies with marketed drugs. These companies need to continue selling their therapies to maintain revenue.

“Whereas companies with drugs in the pipeline but not yet on the market are still in research and development mode. So they are more concerned with clinical trial disruption, contract research organization (CRO) disruptions, and money-raising. Because these pipeline-only companies are not yet profitable, they are dependent for money on their ability to raise capital.”

Since the first case was diagnosed in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise rapidly across the globe. Extreme interventions have been necessary to contain the spread of the virus, resulting in temporary disruption to pharmaceutical supply chains in some regions.

Barry added: “Across all company types and regions, 92% of those surveyed say COVID-19 poses a risk to their companies’ imports/exports.”

A total of 136 pharma company staff, including C-level executives, from around the world participated in the survey, which was fielded from March 13, 2020 to March 24, 2020.

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