Seven weeks after we first covered the news of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in China in this blog, it is now very clear that the rapid spread of Covid-19 is having an increasing impact on economies, industries and businesses worldwide. Workers in many countries are being urged to self-isolate if they experience symptoms, while pharma players, including Mylan, which reported FY 2019 results last week, see a potential impact on their finances. Companies such as Sanofi, GSK, Nestle and L’Oreal are either telling employees to avoid business travel or postpone trips.
Airline shares are in freefall and the global events industry is being hit particularly hard, with organisers cancelling or postponing numerous conferences and trade exhibitions; New Hope Network (Informa) posted the following on its website: “The many conversations, emails, text messages and social media posts that [we have] engaged with since we communicated the hard decision to postpone 2020 Natural Products Expo West due to the Covid-19 situation tell us that many in the natural & organic products community seem to be breathing a sigh of relief.” However, it will not be alone in asking: “What’s next?”
Nicholas Hall Writes: We have taken the painful decision to postpone our flagship Athens meeting from late April to 29th September-1st October. For delegates who roll over their bookings, and for new delegates, we are offering a live-streamed Global Trends presentation / Q&A based on the latest DB6 data at 10:00 CET on 29th April, which under happier circumstances would have been the start of the Athens conference. Full details of this and the postponed conference dates will be circulated soon. I look forward to e-meeting many of you on 29th April and greeting you in person in Athens in September, by which time we hope to be cleared by the Chief Medical Officer to start the meeting in the traditional Nicholas Hall Family way with handshakes all round. I’m truly looking forward to “business as usual”.
Our new Hot Topic report puts the Covid-19 pandemic in context. My colleague Nina Monk tells me that the coronavirus outbreak is currently in a containment phase, although it is likely that individual countries will shortly begin implementing mitigation / treatment programmes as person-to-person transmission within infected communities increases. This will affect where people go to seek treatment (hospital vs pharmacy) and what treatment is given (Rx vs OTC). The impact on the CHC market is already becoming apparent with sales of antiseptics & disinfectants, antibacterial hand gels, face masks, immune-boosting supplements and OTC antivirals all seeing significant spikes in sales.
Unlike SARS, which was more severe but relatively short-lived, Covid-19 is likely to drag on into the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, when the warmer weather may lessen its virulence. The likely impact on the global CHC market is hard to judge, but in China sales at point-of-sale could be down by the equivalent of one full trading month this year. e-Commerce will benefit, although there will be disruption of all stages of the supply chain.
Examine the potential impact of coronavirus on our industry in a Hot Topic review from our CIMA division, which is published today. To purchase your copy of Coronavirus 2020 and its Potential Impact on CHC, or for more information, please contact the CIMA General Manager, nina.monk@NicholasHall.com.