Despite entering another national lockdown, we begin this year with a great deal more hope for a return to ‘normality’ than with which we finished 2020. Following an unprecedented global, collaborative push for a COVID-19 vaccine, we now have three approved for use in the UK and the country’s largest vaccination programme in its history is rapidly underway. However, the devastating daily death tolls (which were still reaching new heights as PharmaTimes was going to press) and emergence of new variations of the virus serve as a stark reminder that the fight is far from over, and that the true impact of the pandemic is yet to be revealed.
In this issue, Oli Hudson outlines (p16) what we know so far about the impact of the pandemic on prescribing patterns. Pharma companies need to be sensitive to any changes to care pathways as a result of COVID-19 that might be leaving patients with suboptimal treatment plans, he notes. Over on page 20, Dr Andrew Rut considers what pharma companies can do to help drive COVID-19 vaccination, including creating a complete picture of safety as soon as possible, which will be no mean feat given the expected deluge of pharma call centre vaccination inquiries and reports.
Our cover feature (p24) looks at the new era of medical communications which is forging ever closer links between pharma, patients and healthcare, and we talk to two communicators in the field about their roles and experiences (p27). Speaking of new eras, Paul McGrade highlights (p18) what the pharma industry should be focusing on now given that a trade deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU.
I hope you enjoy the issue!
Up next month: Pharma and the NHS – where is the relationship going? We explore partnerships, joint working, the emergence of digital and an international pandemic – all factors that have rebooted inter-sector relations between the two powerhouses of healthcare. What will define the NHS-pharma bond over the next decade? You can help shape this article - for more information, please email Anna Yeardley firstname.lastname@example.org
While recent vaccine developments provide a glimpse of a post-COVID future, the ongoing impact of the pandemic on prescribing patterns is still being closely scrutinised. Oli Hudson looks at what the data tells us so far, and where things might go from here
Communication between pharma, patients and wider healthcare has helped to create a solid foundation upon which the general public understands disease and, crucially, trusts emerging therapies. Now that vaccines promise a ‘way out’ of the COVID-19 impasse, pharma’s direction has never (ever) been more important