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We take a break from the ‘Story of a Pharma Salesperson’ and move on to other topics. We shall return to it again later.
Continued from Previous……
We discussed the COVID situation, the impact on Pharma industry and its response till now. We shall now see what possible strategies can be.
One standard way of developing strategy is ‘scenario building’. Various scenarios are developed so that relevant strategies may be considered. The other way is to think in terms of short-term, medium-term and long-term. We shall do both but start from scenarios.
SCENARIO 1 – COVID CASES INCREASE EXPONENTIALLY
This is the first likely scenario. We cannot allocate prevalence ratio to scenarios because it would need a different kind of epidemiological research.
The fallout of this scenario may be plotted as follows.
- The influx of patients chokes the health system leaving virtually no space for other medical treatments. It would mean that all kinds of elective surgeries and procedures will be put on hold and only emergency cases such as trauma will be catered to. This would drastically reduce consumption of many drugs thereby impacting sales.
- The doctors largely stop practicing due to fear of COVID. Patients also choose to keep postponing treatment for as long as they can. Essential medicines, drugs for heart, diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric [chronic care] illnesses shall keep selling but non-essential and acute-care drug sales are likely to be affected.
- Sales Teams become more or less idle and majority of smaller companies may opt to relieve their teams. This will cause further influx of unemployed people in the market which shall be already overfilled with such people from other industries.
- Production may suffer on account of staff contracting COVID, or supply chain being disrupted. Production losses may lead to shortages in the market.
- Industry growth reduction shall put on hold all kind of expansion plans. Industry revenue may be reduced while cost may increase due to supply chain issues.
- Shrinkage of economy may affect all businesses revenue and income.
Strategy in this scenario may be termed as survival strategy. It may be run from Operations room, closely watching the situation and reacting accordingly. Broad principles will be controlling costs and protecting revenues as much as possible. New product launches may be done as per plan, but their expected revenues may be revised downwards. Specific strategies shall have to be developed by the corporates as per their specific situations.
SCENARIO 2 – COVID PROGRESSION IS MODERATE BUT KEEPS AFFECTING MORE POPULATIONS
This is the other likely scenario. People do not take precautions seriously and COVID positive people keep infecting more and more people. The following possible fallout may be considered.
- COVID becomes a part of life and is taken in stride; the accompanying stress is reduced
- Protection advices are totally ignored
- Business runs more or less as usual
- Sensitivity about COVID remains low
- There is a fatalistic view that ultimately everyone shall be infected
In this situation, the impact on economy is likely to be low, not absent. Strategies would include going as near normal but keeping cushion for COVID-induced off days of staff. Most plans may be rolled out as usual.
SCENARIO 3 – COVID PROGRESSION IS AGGRESSIVE BUT FLATS OUT RAPIDLY AS WINTER GOES OUT
No one would know that it would flat out, but the immediate concern would be rapid progression. The impact on economy, working and society will be significant during the peak time. The fallout will be similar to Scenario 1 but shall change later.
- The health system may be overwhelmed blocking other patients
- Sales of certain products go up while others’ go down
- Expansion plans may have to be held down
- Field work disruption is expected
- A state of uncertainty may prevail
Since future remains elusive, it would be better to move cautiously till the situation becomes clearer. Small steps should continue to keep moving forward.
SCENARIO 4 – COVID PROGRESSION STALLS AS HERD IMMUNITY DEVELOPS
This is the most pleasant scenario of all. Pakistan is neither likely to get bulk quantities of COVID vaccine nor all people will be willing to get one injected. Our best course will be to have herd immunity so that mutual infectivity goes down.
The recovery of economy in this scenario will be long term and solid. It may take a while, but it will yield good prospects for people and businesses.
These are the possible likely scenarios which cover more or less all aspects. We are all watching the progress of events keenly and we shall remain alive and agile to evolving situations.
To be Continued……
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