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How COVID-19 has accelerated the development of vaccines and medicinal therapies: lessons for the future of regulation
By Malka Fraiman and Paulien Nuyts
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on countries across the world and, in the absence of any known therapies, galvanized a global race to find safe and effective treatments and vaccines. Regulators have responded swiftly to help expedite drug development and approval. This blog focuses on two of the geographies most affected by COVID-19, Europe and the United States of America (US), and specifically the response of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It considers the challenges and opportunities that arise from the changes in the regulatory landscape and the implications for the future of medicines regulation.
By Steve Burrill, vice chairman, US Health Care Leader, Deloitte LLP
This week we wanted to share with you one of the insightful blogs from our colleague in the US on the impact that COVID-19 is having on their healthcare system; and which first appeared as a US Center for Health Solutions ‘Health Forward’ blog on 28 May. While the image of empty hospitals, healthcare job losses and funding challenges aren’t things we expect to see in the UK, the description of the reality of the past three months for healthcare staff on the front-line, and how to address the growing backlog of deferred medical services, does resonate. Moreover the main thrust of the blog, on the four key areas of healthcare that COVID-19 is likely to change in the ‘future of health’, is something we do expect to see happening across the UK and Europe and, likewise, we expect this to happen much more quickly than we might previously have predicted.
By Dr Francesca Properzi, PhD. Research Manager, and Maria João Cruz, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions
This week we launched the fourth in our series of reports highlighting the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) across the biopharma value chain. Our report, Intelligent drug supply chain: Creating value from AI, explores the digital transformation of biopharma’s global supply chains and how AI can help improve value and manage risks more effectively. Given the unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report also considers the role that AI can play in helping supply chains respond, recover and thrive.
By Paul van Geffen and Eleonora Lena, Deloitte Risk Advisory
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyone’s daily lives and touched every industry across the world. While many countries had influenza and other pandemic preparedness plans in place prior to COVID-19, no one was fully prepared for the speed and indiscriminate spread of the disease. Indeed, in many countries the demand for appropriate medical devices and equipment quickly outstripped supply, leading to critical shortages, particularly of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). Consequently, traditional and novel medical equipment manufacturers have pivoted many of their activities to meet this demand. At the same time, international and national regulators have had to adapt their approach to granting market approval. These changes have implications for the future of medical device regulation.
By Samrina Bhatti, MRPharmS, PGDipGPP, Manager, Centre for Health Solutions
COVID-19 has been a powerful stimulus in catalysing the use of technology. This has led to digital technologies becoming embedded more than ever in our everyday lives and, importantly, within healthcare roles. As a result, the digitalisation of healthcare practices and the amount of data held within electronic health records is growing exponentially. However, we are still catching up on methods of optimising the use of all of this data and generating actionable insights. As a pharmacist who has worked both locally and nationally, I have seen the positive effects that increased digitalisation can have on prescribing and administration practices.
By Glenn Snyder, principal, MedTech Practice leader, and Bill Murray, specialist executive, MedTech Practice, Deloitte Consulting LLP
This week’s blog is by Deloitte’s Medical Technology sector leader in the US, Glenn Snyder and his colleague, Bill Murray, and first appeared on the Deloitte US Health Forward Blog on 3 April 2020.
We are still in the early stages of the COVID-19 health emergency, but many medtech companies have already shifted their attention to addressing the immediate needs of the medical community. Some companies, for example, are ramping up production of ventilators, surgical masks, test kits, and other products that are in short supply. Some of them are collaborating with other medtech companies or organizations from outside the sector. Distilleries, cosmetics manufacturers, and even coffee roasters are pitching in to produce hand-sanitizers for first-responders.1,2,3
COVID-19: preparing for a sustainable future using lessons from tackling the mental health needs of NHS clinical staff
By Karen Taylor and Krissie Ferris, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions
This week, 18-24 May, is Mental Health Awareness week, aimed at encouraging people to talk about and take action to promote good mental health for all. The theme this year is ‘kindness’ to reflect the impact that acts of kindness can have on improving mental health.1 One area where acts of kindness have proliferated during the COVID-19 pandemic has been in the public’s acknowledgement and appreciation of the work of NHS staff. While this has undoubtedly helped boost morale, there is increasing evidence that the pandemic is taking its toll on the mental health of clinical staff. In recognition of these heightened risks, NHS employers at both national and local level, have used Mental Health Awareness week to raise the profile of, and signpost staff to, the numerous mental health initiatives that have been put in place to address their needs. This week’s blog explores the actions taken to protect and support the mental health of staff during the current pandemic, what more can be done to maintain staff resilience, and the lessons that can be built upon to ensure that the NHS has a sustainable future.
By Karen Taylor, Director, Centre for Health Solutions
Tuesday 12 May was International Nurses Day, celebrating the contribution nurses make to society. It was also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, best-known for her pioneering work in raising the standards of nursing and educating nurses on good hygiene practices.1 Today her influence has been recognised in the name given to the newly-created Nightingale Hospitals – established in major UK cities. However, my admiration of the Florence Nightingale legacy began in early 2000s when I began a series of investigations into hospital acquired infections (HAIs). This week’s blog explains how Florence Nightingale’s passion as a statistician and health reformer influenced my work and why this is still relevant today.
By Karen Taylor, Director, and Maria João Cruz, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions
The London Marathon was meant to take place on Sunday, April 26, but was postponed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a great disappointment to the 40,000 people intending to take part, as well as the thousands of charities that the runners were raising money for. In its place social media launched a 2.6 challenge campaign urging the public to run, walk, cycle or skip over 2.6 miles, 26 minutes or even 26 miles in the garden. The challenge went viral and within two days over £6.6 million had been raised. Feeling humbled by the efforts of so many people got us thinking about another important race that we are all invested in, the race to find an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Serendipitously, this past week was World Immunisation Week. Consequently, this blog provides a progress report on the race to develop a vaccine and why, despite the race being more of a sprint than a marathon, the prospect of a reliable vaccine for use in the general population is still some 18 months away.1
By the Deloitte Board Advisory Practice
As a non-executive director on an NHS Trust Board I know first-hand the speed and effectiveness with which my Board has adopted new ways of working. I have personally been humbled and awed by how our executives have responded. However, it always helpful to understand what other Boards are doing so I’m pleased to be able to feature as our blog this week this article from my colleagues in our Deloitte Board Advisory practice.