Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis

Web Exclusives —June 2, 2020



In a departure from previous webcast presentations, this session, Economic Observations, featured a formal presentation by Murray Aitken, MBA, Executive Director, IQVIA Institute, and a one-on-one conversation between series host Burt Zweigenhaft, PhD, D.Litt, Founder, Association for Value-Based Cancer Care, and Mr Aitken.

In Dr Zweigenhaft’s introduction, he said there is no better person to assess the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic than Mr Aitken, who is Executive Director for Columbia Institute for Human Data Science. Dr Zweigenhaft said, “He leads the research drawing upon the resources and capabilities of the entire organization to address the critical issues facing healthcare systems around the world.” Although the data in this particular webcast focused on the United States, the research undertaken by the institute “is used by stakeholders across the whole ecosystem in healthcare, including policymakers, public and private sector providers, life science companies, and patient groups.”

During the course of the formal presentation, Mr Aitken shared data across a broad range of indicators, including the provision of services to patients; clinical trial activity and research; numbers of new prescriptions; and the growing use of telemedicine and its particular applications in cancer care, among many others. He also reported on the pandemic’s direct result on the number of cancer screenings and resulting diagnoses.

Acknowledging that there is much room for improvement in the healthcare ecosystem recovery, Mr Aitken suggested that there is reason to be encouraged by the data. “It does feel that we're off the bottom in terms of the direct magnitude of the impact of the pandemic,” he said.

Referring to the trajectory of the pandemic, he stated, “Clearly, we see that in terms of the number of active cases, the number of new active cases, deaths, and so on, we’re off the bottom. We’re also off the bottom in terms of the decline in the level of services for patients.”

He continued, saying that, “while I wouldn't refer to it as pure optimism, there is a sense that we do need to move forward and find what the 'new normal' looks like to get patients back into the system and get patient care moving again.”

While indications are positive, he cautioned, at the same time there is the need to recognize “that there's probably going to be some bumps in the road as we adjust to this new era.”

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