As the number of global coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise, governments around the world are taking unprecedented measures, to contain the spread and support their economies throughout the outbreak. These measures include billions worth of rescue packages, tax postponements, liquidity injections and interest rate cuts to new lows, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s latest annual report, “Healthcare Industry Business Confidence Report 2020”, reveals that health epidemics was the biggest concern among healthcare industry professionals. A total 95% of respondents surveyed between February and early March 2020 were concerned about the impact of COVID-2019 on their companies’ performance, with respondents from the Asia Pacific (APAC) region expressing the highest level of concern. Furthermore, 23% of respondents were very or extremely concerned about supply and demand gaps – possibly tied to the coronavirus outbreak.
Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, comments: “Drug discovery and manufacturing has traditionally been a global effort with China and India establishing themselves as main players in the global pharmaceutical supply chain. Since the surge of coronavirus cases in Wuhan, pharmaceutical industry became worried that the decreased Chinese production capabilities would result in drug shortages – once again reiterating the global economy’s dependence on China.”
Although China was blamed for delayed reporting the outbreak, it took aggressive actions to withhold the further spread of the virus, which seems to be under control. While, until the beginning of March, the virus was expected to hit Asian markets the most, the increasing number of cases in the rest of the countries are changing the pattern. The fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, turbulence in the global stock markets, countries moving towards strict border controls and country-wide lockdowns are also taking its toll on pharmaceutical sector and have industry and governments to rethink the drug supply chains.
Jakimaviciute continued: “While most pharmaceutical factories in China resumed their production lines, the pharma industry’s concerns are heightened by countries such as India restricting the export of dozens of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and the medicines made from them, the UK banning the parallel export of more than 80 drugs to protect supplies during the coronavirus outbreak, and the US and the EU looking into bringing manufacturing back to their soils.
“With Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) downgrading it’s global growth forecast in the beginning of March, it is clear that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on economies is going to be severe. However, as the spread of the coronavirus continues, what will come in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak is yet unknown. It may take years before the full global impact of the coronavirus is understood and measured.”