Pandemic Forces Amarin, Merck and Others to Halt Sales Interactions


With more and more nations calling for self-quarantines due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe, companies are urging employees to work from home in order to decrease the spread of the virus.

Over the weekend, Ireland-based Amarin Corporation said it was supporting the calls for social distancing to halt the spread of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization last week. Restricting face-to-face interactions with people will go a long way in limiting the spread of the virus. In support of this measure, Amarin, the maker of cardiovascular drug Vascepa, said it has suspended field based face-to-face interactions between its marketing team and customers until March 30.

“In the field of pharmaceutical marketing, increased social contact, such as interactions between sales representatives with healthcare providers, has the potential to counteract these important public health initiatives and to put our employees and people in doctors’ offices at unnecessary risk,” Amarin said in a press release issued over the weekend.

During this time period, Amarin said it will continue to provide digital and internet-based educational materials to customers and will also continue to ship samples. While the company will continue to support its customers as best it can, Amarin said it is too early to determine what kind of financial impact this will have on its revenue guidance. The company said these actions follow reports of “record new prescription levels” for the sale of Vascepa.

The company said its supply chain is diversified in order to mitigate risks and thus should face little disruption. The company said it has significant stockpiles of Vascepa in the United States.

John Thero, chief executive officer of Amarin, said the company is doing what it can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of its employees and their families.

“We applaud the dedication and efforts of healthcare professionals internationally as they prioritize their own efforts to address the public health crisis presented by COVID-19. And, we express our condolences to everyone who is suffering from this pandemic. We will work to continue our diligent efforts to bring to healthcare professionals and the public our contribution to improved treatment of cardiovascular risk, which is not only an enormous and growing medical issue worldwide but also a leading factor of increased risk to those infected by COVID-19,” Thero said in a statement.

Other pharmaceutical companies are taking similar actions. STAT News reported that Amgen and Merck have issued similar recommendations to its marketing and sales teams. Amgen said it is going to “a virtual interaction model” until April 17, STAT said. Other companies are likely to follow suit if they haven’t already. It is unknown how this reduction in face-to-face time between sales teams and clients will impact revenue, but Brian Abrahams, a biotech analyst at RBC Capital, noted that companies with recently approved treatments or treatments that have just launched, could see an interrupted reduction in revenue streams, STAT reported.

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