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September 15, 2020

What will be the long-term effect of COVID-19?

It is still too early to speculate what the new normal life under the cloud of COVID-19 will look like and there are still too many uncertainties to forecast with any certainty what long-term effects the COVID-19 pandemic will have.

However, it is clear that the massive disruption to all aspects of life will leave a powerful legacy. History teaches us that a crisis on the scale of the current pandemic turbocharges changes that would have taken years into weeks, and long-term trends are telescoped into overnight paradigm shifts. However, it is clear that the massive disruption to all aspects of life will leave a powerful legacy.

1) Focus on healthcare and healthcare services, especially the critical role of the supply chain.

  • The availability of medicines and personal protective equipment has been shown quite literally to be a matter of life and death. 
  • The need to address shortcomings and close efficiency gaps before a possible next wave of the epidemic.
  • •The current set up of our supply chains, with emphasis on lean, just-in-time and globally-sourced > real risks to reliable medicines supply that have been exposed by the pandemic.

2) Importance of timely and high-quality data.

  • Data needs to be high quality and real-time
  • Needs to be appropriately structured and contextualised to be turned into valuable information.
  • Serialisation has laid the base for the next phase of the supply chain evolution: Knowing where your products are exactly at any point of time is crucial not only to run an efficient business but also to be able to react and adjust quickly to the shifting demand in case of public health emergencies like the current pandemic.

3) Importance of trust – or lack of it, in many instances: 

  • Wider topic of public policy responses to the pandemic where governments have not responded quickly or well.
  • Shown the importance to focus on the needs and expectations of our customers, especially patients.
  • Need to provide reassurance at a time of great worries and uncertainties especially when criminals see an opportunity.

Times of crisis are always viewed as opportunities by criminals and profiteers and we have already seen it recently with worrying numbers of counterfeit COVID-19 products being pushed into the legitimate supply chain.

This is where the industry can leverage the recent serialisation infrastructure that has now been established Europe-wide and move beyond the legally required process of tracking the product to the point of dispense but where possible beyond, allowing the customer – under some conditions – to check the authenticity of the product with their smartphone for reassurance but also providing access to enhanced information related to his condition and value-add services beyond.

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