Pause for thought: 2020

Lee Ronan, Commercial Director, CSL

What a year 2020 has been. I can’t do a recap of it without pausing for thought for the 1.5 million or more people who have lost their lives to Covid-19.  

Focusing on the UK, we have seen massive changes in the pharma industry. I wanted to briefly touch on a few of the key highlights as I see them:

Changing engagement

From our reps being our essential customer facing stars, we suddenly had to rely on emails and websites to keep our awareness and engagement levels up. Local insights that we often took for granted were no longer available and in some cases our field teams and head office support were put on furlough. Many of the metrics we used became pretty pointless, and at the start of 2020 who would have thought that consent would be a KPI we tracked so closely.

Rise of the machine

Thankfully not on the scale of the film with a similar name, but 2020 was the year where machine learning and AI gained greater traction in the commercial pharma world. Whether it was to give a next best action to our sales teams, or to aid them with benefits from data by finding the interesting, AI is here to stay.

NHS evolution

ICS’s continued to form with 18 now in place. They are starting to have a real impact on patient’s lives. I will write a more detailed article on ICS’s (look out for it in the new year) but to summarise them in one sentence, they are the merger of all stakeholders in the care pathway (primary care, secondary care, etc) to improve patient outcomes.

More Data

On a data front, we saw the NHS finally publish hospital usage data. Something we have been asking for, for many years. It is great to see it finally available. As with GP prescribing data, England has led, and we hope the three devolved nations will follow.


Probably going to have more impact on us in 2021 than 2020, but it appears we are slowly heading towards a no deal. What that means for supplies, parallel trade and stock and reporting for Northern Ireland who knows!

If you would like to discuss any of the above, contact me on 01483 528305 or email


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