A main cause has been the drop in patients seeing healthcare professionals in 2020 for things other than COVID-19, as well as healthcare's lower focus on dealing with things other than the pandemic.
The British Medical Association have talked about a "catastrophic" drop in diagnoses, surgeries and appointments.
GSK's sales have been affected by widespread disruption to vaccination programmes for conditions other than COVID-19.
For AZ, the effect of national lockdowns and the reduced number of visits by patients to healthcare practitioners saw reduced drug sales for existing drugs in Q3. However, AZ did do well in some quarters due to new collaborations (such as with Daiichi Sankyo) and new oncology drugs coming to market.
In VWV's Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences team, we have heard from clients that this has been a challenging year and the sales of many medicines have been down. This may seem counterintuitive to some, who would expect pharma to benefit in a pandemic, but the reality is that not much of pharma's existing businesses or medicines would see an upside from COVID-19. With the good news coming through for vaccines, the Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences sector as well as many others would be hoping for a better 2021.