The COVID-19 pandemic has affected clinical trial activities across the world prompting pharmaceutical companies to scramble for contingencies.

GlobalData has conducted a survey to identify how the coronavirus has affected clinical trial planning across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Rest of World (RoW).

An analysis of the survey responses has revealed that patient recruitment is the most significant challenge faced by companies across all regions.

Approximately 32% of the respondents in APAC region noted that patient recruitment is the biggest problem for clinical trials due to safety concerns. A comparatively lesser concern over the same was expressed, however, by respondents from North America (25%), Europe (23%), and RoW (22%).

Supply of clinical trial materials affected clinical trial planning for 23% of European companies, compared to 12%, 15% and 11% for North America, APAC and RoW, respectively.

Further, 22% of the respondents from RoW are planning to change the location of the trial, followed by 13%, 6% and 6% of the companies from North America, Europe and APAC, respectively.

Effect of Covid-19 on clinical trial planning by geography

Effect of COVID-19 on clinical trial planning

The percentage of surveyed companies that considered either cancelling or deferring their trials was also led by respondents from RoW (22%), followed by North America (21%), Europe (16%) and APAC (9%).

Furthermore, 15% of the companies from North America, 12% from APAC, 11% from RoW and 6% from Europe highlighted that the pandemic has impacted investigator recruitment for trials.

Approximately 12% of the companies from APAC have no trials planned in the next two years. The figure stands at 3% each for respondents from Europe and North America and 0% for those from RoW.

The percentage of companies that opined that the pandemic will have no impact on their clinical trials stood at 16% for companies from Europe, 6% for North America, 3% for APAC and 0% for RoW.

The analysis is based on responses received from the Pharmaceutical Trade and Supply Chain Survey conducted between 07 July and 30 July 2020.