Lazard’s Healthcare Group conducted a pulse survey of global healthcare industry leaders, surveying 138 C-level executives and 22 investors across three sectors: Biopharmaceuticals; Medical Devices and Diagnostics; and Healthcare Services.
In the approximately six months following Lazard’s last survey of healthcare industry leaders (the Lazard Global Healthcare Leaders Study 2021), the global health environment has changed dramatically, with two significant COVID-19 variants (Delta and Omicron), sweeping across populations. Concurrently, economic conditions have changed, capital markets volatility has increased and the geopolitical climate has evolved as well.
With these developments in mind, Lazard’s global healthcare group conducted a “pulse” survey of healthcare leaders to assess their views on the state of the pandemic and topical issues for the healthcare industry.
Among the findings:
- The financing environment for healthcare companies is expected to be more challenging across the board, most markedly in the public markets.
- Strategic activity among healthcare companies is expected to see an increase in bolt-on acquisitions and strategic alliances.
- A large majority of industry leaders don’t expect any major U.S. legislation regarding drug pricing to occur in 2022.
In addition, a large majority of the respondents believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has transitioned from a pandemic to an endemic phase (see charts below):
Most healthcare leaders believe COVID-19 has already transitioned from a pandemic to an endemic phase
Even as many observers debate the likelihood of the COVID-19 pandemic transitioning to an endemic phase, the majority of healthcare leaders have already made up their minds: 71% believe the emergence of variants such as Delta and Omicron mean that COVID-19 is already in an endemic phase. (A disease is defined as endemic when it is a constant presence limited to a given geographic area or population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Even among the 29% of respondents who said COVID-19 is not yet endemic, two-thirds expect it to become endemic this year. Most of the remaining respondents expect it to become endemic before 2025.
Healthcare leaders are divided on how endemic COVID-19 will manifest itself
A more complex question is how endemic COVID-19 would manifest itself. For example, will it be a severe but manageable disease like malaria, or a less severe, more manageable disease like seasonal flu? On this issue, healthcare leaders are divided.
Among those who said COVID-19 is currently in an endemic phase, almost half expect that it is more likely to be accepted and managed like the seasonal flu. However, 32% disagree, saying it is less likely to become like the seasonal flu. Approximately 20% of respondents are in the middle.