6 Challenges In The Pharmaceutical Industry During The Pandemic

Updated on July 6, 2021

The pharmaceutical industry faces huge challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Due to new mutated strains of the COVID-19 virus, scientists and researchers need to find ways on how to improve vaccines and other innovative pharmaceutical solutions to fight the pandemic. 

Obstacles Faced By Pharmaceutical Industries 

While advanced technologies are available, not all countries have the right facilities to manage vaccines and keep up with increased demands in various medications and pharmaceutical supplies. In this article, you’ll learn the challenges that the pharmaceutical industry faces during this health pandemic. 

1. Supply Chain Breakdown  

One of the responsibilities of pharmacy managers and administrators is to maintain the availability and supply of pharmaceutical products, including oral and intravenous medications for hospitals, doctor’s clinics, and ambulatory surgery centers.  

However, pharmaceutical managers and administrators worldwide face great challenges in maintaining a good supply of much-needed medications. The global health pandemic may cause supply chain breakdown, which was already experienced with the increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines. Drug shortages interfere with patient care delivery, making it particularly difficult to maintain compounded sterile preparations in stock. 

It’s a good thing that experts found a solution in outsourcing facilities offering active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) to sterile compounding. With this solution, all processes are centralized under one outsourcing facility. Learn more about API-to-sterile compounding by reading this article source

Pharmaceutical managers and administrators can oversee the end-to-end compounding process, guaranteeing reliability and quality assurance of all available drugs for patient safety. Hence, this solution prevents supply chain breakdown. 

2. Vaccine Distribution Challenges  

Many countries face this problem. Proper temperature is a critical factor when choosing storage facilities for the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of the manpower, resource, and infrastructure requirements to support a cold-chain network, pharmaceutical companies are struggling with COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

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While the number of vaccines to fight COVID-19 will continue to increase, the recipient countries should be ready with a good logistics plan. Pharmaceutical managers and administrators should ensure the healthcare institutions and agencies they work for have a complete workforce and facilities to receive the vaccines. In this way, the potency and effectiveness of the vaccines are preserved. 

3. Lack Of Coordinated Strategy 

Using artificial intelligence (AI) in research and development seems to be a huge challenge in the pharmaceutical industry. Many pharmaceutical companies invest in internal data science research and development.  

However, most of these companies are lacking a coordinated strategy. When deep-diving into big pharma AI, many experts of data science and digital technology are only present in one organization or department.  

4. Engaging And Retaining Patients  

In a survey conducted among Canadian and United States pharmaceutical executives, one of the challenges companies face during the pandemic is engaging and retaining patients for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.  

Here are the other challenges pharmaceutical companies face in 2020: 

  • Monitoring visit preparations 
  • Following up with current study subjects  
  • Pre-screening referrals or patients from outside sources  
  • Patient education time  
  • Upkeeping investigator site file 
  • Patient phone screening and scheduling 
  • Electronic Data Capture (EDC) query resolution  
  • Reviewing database or chart review to look for potential subjects  
  • Not enough staff  
  • Internet Protocol (IP) accountability 

5. Lower Consumer Confidence 

As a result of the pandemic crisis, consumers expect much from the pharmaceutical industry. While pharmaceutical companies around the world are trying to keep up with the demands of effective COVID-19 vaccines, consumer confidence decline because of various reasons. 

Consumers expect pharmaceutical companies to provide affordable vaccines and medications because of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Many people also take advantage of the need for vaccines, resulting in illegal vaccine distribution and manufacturing. 

Because of what’s happening in public health, more and more consumers seem to lose confidence in the healthcare sector and the pharmaceutical industry. Experts had identified the six major risks manufacturers face in 2021, which include the following: 

  • Reduced consumer demand for prescription medicines 
  • Rising competition from generic pharmaceutical companies  
  • Pharmaceutical fraud 
  • Rising consumer expectations and difficulties managing brand health 
  • Data breaches and other forms of cybersecurity attacks 

6. COVID-19 Vaccine Inequality 

The lack of trial data aggravates COVID-19 vaccine inequality, resulting in the shortage of vaccine supply in low-income and middle-income countries. 

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) provides free access to the clinical trial evidence of approving two COVID-19 vaccines widely used nowadays. But other vaccines still lack information on their trials. 


The pharmaceutical industry face various challenges during the pandemic. Drug shortages and distribution issues for COVID-19 vaccines are apparent. When it comes to research and development, there’s also a great struggle due to the lack of coordinated strategy among the employees and departments of pharmaceutical companies.