*WINNER* The Economic Effects of COVID-19 on Medical Research


  • Kassaundra Copas
  • Jeel Patel


During 2020, much of the medical research community focused on developing treatments and preventative measures for COVID-19 to save lives, end suffering, and lift restrictions around the world. However, this focus may have pulled economic resources away from other fields of medical research, causing negative effects for thousands of patients around the world. To study this, we compared the quarterly financial statements of pharmaceutical companies that specialize in oncology (4) and gastroenterology (3) to companies researching COVID-19 (7). We analyzed Research and Development expenditures and revenues between 2019 and 2020. Oncology and gastroenterology companies reported average revenue decreased by 9% and average research and development expenses decreased by 12% from 2019 to 2020. Covid-related companies reported revenue growth of 842% and research and development expenses growth of 93%.

Our findings suggest that a concentration of research funding in one field comes at the expense of other fields. These trends which we discovered may not continue as vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 are being distributed. However, if further research is required as new variants and long-term health complications are discovered, we could see these economic impacts well into the future. Patients suffering from non-viral conditions, such as cancer and gastrointestinal disease, would suffer if more focus remained on the ongoing pandemic rather than these other major medical fields.