Market Research & Insights

Road to recovery for Australian Pharma, MedTech and Biotech sectors impacted by COVID-19 – New report

Health Industry Hub | October 7, 2020 |
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Market Research & Insights: With Australia confirming its first case of the coronavirus on 25 January 2020, it wasn’t long before COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, emerged as a public health and economic crisis.

The medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical (MTP) sector in Australia has not been immune to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the MTPConnect reports.

On 5 October 2020, a second edition of the MTPConnect COVID-19 Impact Report was published and launchedincluding additional data and new insights from June to September 2020.

MTPConnect Managing Director & CEO, Dr Dan Grant, said “Australia is in the midst of a significant recession that will take a long time to recover from. As well as detailing the significant impacts of the global pandemic, our new report makes it clear that the MTP sector has a critical and ongoing role to play in that recovery. By staying at the forefront of researching, developing, translating and commercialising innovative health solutions, our MTP sector will deliver better outcomes for patients as well as create new jobs and support economic growth for Australia. COVID-19 has driven innovation at pace and now is the time to seize these opportunities.”

According to MTPConnect COVID-19 Impact Report, since May 2020, the Pharma, MedTech and Biotech sectors have begun their recovery from the pandemic slump as case numbers reduced and restrictions across most of Australia began to ease, enabling the resumption of many activities including clinical trials, pre-clinical R&D activity and elective surgeries.

However, Pharma, MedTech and Biotech sector companies have continued to face challenges. The “second wave” of infections sent Mebourne into strict lockdowns in August, creating challenges for the organisations that are either based in, or dependent on Victoria for revenue. Nationally, supply chain challenges have persisted as international borders have remained closed and consequently air freight capacity available for
import and export of goods has remained limited and costly.

The closure of international borders placed universities under enormous financial pressure, with an estimated $2 billion lost in revenue from international student fees resulting in substantial job losses and the slowing down or stopping of research activities.

While COVID-19 has had devastating health and economic impacts in Australia and around the world, it has also driven innovation, the adoption of new technologies and behavioural changes at an unprecedented rate.

A key trend to emerge in response to the lockdown restrictions has been the rapid growth in home deliveries of medical supplies and medicines to patients.

There is also an opportunity for the sector to leverage the domestic manufacturing capability that has come to the fore during the pandemic to build new products and services that emphasise quality and reliability over cost.

The increased use of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics and robotics is a trend that will be critical to maintain to build global competitive advantage and deliver economic growth and jobs to Australia, post-pandemic.

The report’s second edition is a valuable resource outlining six key issues that must be addressed for the sector’s recovery, six trends that present opportunities for growth, and actions for government and industry to take to better prepare for future pandemics.

The First MTPConnect COVID-19 Impact Report

In June 2020, MTPConnect reported on the initial impacts in the first MTPConnect COVID-19 Impact Report covering the four-month period from February to May 2020. With insights from 80 senior leaders from the sector, the report detailed significant hits to company values, the shutdown of critical clinical trials and the drying-up of much needed capital to sustain research and development projects. It highlighted that the sector was dealing with these impacts while simultaneously fast-tracking vaccine, diagnostic, device and therapeutic research to fight COVID-19 and securing vital medical supplies.

They also released a supplementary report, prepared in collaboration with the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA), Collaborating in the Public Interest: How Australia’s Medical Technology Sector joined with Government to fight COVID-19It detailed the behind-the-scenes story of a unique industry and government collaboration that ensured Australia secured its fair share of essential medical equipment, including ventilators, test kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other ICU supplies.

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