Pandemics make for strange bedfellows and behavior in the pharmaceutical industry.
The world is relying on drugmakers’ expertise to get us out of the Covid-19 crisis — initially with treatments to help lessen the risks from contracting the virus, and then ultimately with a vaccine. The high pressure, enormous need, and global attention are leading companies to try new things on the fly. Just last week, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. signed a pact with its erstwhile rival Roche Holding AG aimed at substantially boosting supplies of a potential treatment for Covid-19; it even made some monetary sacrifices to do so. And that’s only the latest example.
Much of what’s happening represents a war-time type response to a unique situation, and it may not be repeated. These are for-profit companies, after all, and they will act accordingly. But from an unprecedented vaccine hunt to international manufacturing deals, the drug industry’s response shows the possibilities of what a more collaborative medicine market could bring.