The first warning that the pandemic would have a huge impact on R&D for Pharmaceutical corporations was when nothing happened last year. As people hunkered down in their houses, the typical flow of clinical data just dried up. Patients have ceased enrolling in clinical studies. Visits to the clinic were cancelled. Clinical researchers, who are critical to the success of any clinical study, left their studies to volunteer at COVID clinics.
Clinical trials are essential to the survival of any Pharmaceutical or Biotech Company. Drugs are not approved or sold without clinical research. Of course, many businesses have started wholly new research on COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. Kim Doggett, head of site engagement for UCB, said, “But all pharma companies were left wondering: What about everything else? “We were all in shock. With other pharma companies in the industry, we were all like, ‘Oh my gosh, is this really happening?”
Companies needed to virtualize as much of the trial procedure as possible in order to reduce clinic visits—and they needed to do it quickly. According to Greg Rotz of PwC, the consulting firm’s U.S. Pharmaceutical and life sciences advisory head, the disruption occurred in numerous ways. Clinical trials that were already ongoing were put on pause or cancelled altogether, and trials that were supposed to start were put on hold or cancelled entirely.