Life in a medical agency in times of COVID19
We have been feeling at home on the global pharmaceutical market for years and of course we have been following the development of COVID19 with interest, but also with concern, since the outbreak in Wuhan. Nevertheless, the declaration on the pandemic also hit us with full force mid-March this year. While our impression is that many people in Europe spent the first few weeks in a state of shock, the situation presented us with completely different challenges: large scientific conferences, medical symposia and global brand launches had to be rescheduled, rethought, faculty members rebooked, new locations found for potential execution in the future.
A lot of our planned events and meetings though just went virtual and our AV and multimedia teams worked around the clock to unite from 20 to over 400 attending delegates per meeting, ensuring presentations could happen with stable internet lines, well managed presentations, clear structure and still live engagement from attendees!
And during this time, our medical team and project management teams pulled the strings to make these happen. We, as individual, had no time to really think in the early days of the COVID19 impact on our life and the one of many others.
However, we know now that we will have to live with this virus and the challenges that COVID19 poses for our society and our health system for a long time to come.
As for many people around the world, COVID19 became a little bit closer to us everyday in the weeks that followedand since early April, all of us in the agency only see each other on our respective screens. We adhere to physical distancing, but not to social distancing. We are a team, we don’t let a virus dissuade us from that! Our regular virtual aperitif is a good example of the fact that we maintain our rituals even in these locked down times.
It also very quickly became clear to all of us in the team: We want to help! Only if we are strong as a community will we master this crisis! When we go shopping these days, we ask older neighbors if we can bring them anything. We take dogs of the neighborhood to our morning exercise. At weekends we provide friends and neighbors with homemade cakes. This is the obvious and many of us do so.
Additionaly though we didn’t hesitate for a second when the Malteser Hilfsdienst, an international civil protection organization, called for help: We donated hundreds of mouth-to-nose masks which we produced with a small tailoring company locally. We commissioned our stage and booth building team to produce plexiglass face shields for the Malteser emergency services, which are used as protective clothing for the care of COVID19 patients. Our longstanding relationship with the Malteser, like our relationship with each other, just deepened in the crisis.
But we are also concerned about the future. Sustainability has always been a top priority for us and in the future it must become even more important in our everyday life. SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic pathogen, there is no doubt about it. Studies show a connection between environmental destruction and more infectious diseases from the animals, so-called zoonoses. These insights must have an impact on our future.
We assume in future that we will check carefully whether every flight is necessary. Can more meetings take place virtually? Many of our team members live vegan – can we convince even more colleagues to give up meat now and then? Isn’t our home country a nice holiday destination? Corona lives on – we do too! We will master this newchallenge, professionally, as a team and privately.