Impact of COVID-19 on pharmaceutical and medical devices industry

The current pandemic, Covid-19 originated in China, which is where the majority of APIs for drugs are manufactured; China’s lockdown had a knock-on effect on its neighbour India, which relies on those APIs to produce generic drugs. A survey of readers of Pharmaceutical Technology revealed that with 24% of 3,617 respondents stating they are extremely confident medicine supplies won’t be disrupted, while 22% were extremely doubtful.

While China has now relaxed some of these restrictions, as the viral outbreak spread and became a pandemic, other countries implemented export controls impacting pharma supply chains. Notably, India restricted the exports of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) outside of the country because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Analysis by GlobalData surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic found that the manufacture of 57 drugs is at risk of being affected because of “general manufacturing and export restrictions across China. Short term impact of the pandemic is an expected decline in growth rate of medical devices industry from 5.4% to 3.0 % in 2020.The top 10 countries affected by COVID-19 accounted for 65% of medical devices market in the preceding year 2019.

The resultant effects can be summed up as possible drug shortage, impact on R & D and subsequent new therapy licensing delays and impact on medical devices could mean downstream effects for elective device surgical procedures. Ultimately,hospital revenues will also suffer considering elective procedures also account for substantial revenue. Future solutions can involve supply value chain optimization, less over reliance on
particular countries for APIs, digital health interventions.

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