COVID-19 has shaken the world to the core. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t spared any industry. Most of the companies are redesigning and redefining their businesses while others with more stability are fighting tooth and claw. At a time when large businesses are incurring huge losses and SMBs are heading for the hills, many of the online pharma companies are witnessing a significant jump in sales riding on the back of panic buying and stocking up.
According to a recent survey, the pharmaceutical brick and mortar stores are facing commotions while pharma eCommerce is expecting a long-term benefit but at the cost of temporary losses. These losses are a result of changed consumer behaviour and disrupted supply chain.
Pharma companies impacted by COVID-19:
- AstraZeneca (AZ) has witnessed a revenue downturn as most of its business generates in China where the COVID-19 outbroke. To make things worse, coronavirus has severely impacted economies of the US and Europe from where AstraZeneca fostered another major chunk of its sales. However, ecommerce has saved the day for AZ to some extent but not in a notable manner. AZ is making an attempt to come up with a vaccine for the virus by collaborating with Sanofi. Along with its ecommerce sales, this project might help the company recover its loss.
- Novartis, on the other hand, has made a killing out of forward buying as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The company has nurtured sales worth 400 million dollars in its first quarter. According to the company, much of the impact did not come from wholesaler stockpiling but it came from ecommerce, longer prescriptions, and filling of prescriptions early by patients.
- Merck & Co. is expecting a 2.1 billion dollars dip in 2020 sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. The primary reason behind the fall is sales is reduced office visits by doctors. Albeit, the sales of Keytruda (a drug that sells like a hotcake) continued to run strong in the first quarter, Merck is anticipating a massive drop in sales in the second quarter. The company received some relief from its online sales where customers have been stocking up on products like animal healthcare medicines.
- Pfizer recorded an increase in revenue on the grounds of jump in ecommerce sales of its pneumonia vaccine (Prevnar 13). The serious cases of COVID-19 causes pneumonia with high death rates. Prevnar 13 comes handy in such cases. The company is expecting a further rise in revenue based on creating a vaccine for the pandemic by collaborating with BioNTech.
- In the first quarter, Johnson & Johnson’s sales in the medical device unit dipped by around 8 percent. Its pharma unit saw a surge of over 8 percent driven by ecommerce sales of cancer drugs. In addition, the company’s consumer health unit witnessed its sales jump by 9 percent due to demand for products in pain drugs as a result of panic buying.
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Many of the offline pharma companies having physical stores only suffered severe losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Realising the urgency to go digital, most of these companies are now expanding their customer reach by shifting online. However, ecommerce too has its shortcomings like supply chain disruptions, increase in overall demand, shortage of drugs, delayed deliveries, cancelled orders, product safety concerns, price gouging, cybersecurity threats, development-related challenges, requirement for increased bandwidth, false practices, and more.