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New report from Informa Pharma Intelligence finds Americans are closely watching COVID-19 vaccine and treatment clinical trials as the U.S. continues to encounter new variants


NEW YORK, New York – December 16, 2021 Informa Pharma Intelligence, the global business intelligence provider for the biopharma industry, released its “Q4 2021 Clinical Trials and the COVID-19 Landscape” report, which uncovered key consumer perceptions around COVID-19 clinical developments nearly a year since the first vaccine was approved for emergency use.

The study, conducted online with third-party research firm YouGov, suggests that many Americans are keeping a close eye on changes in the COVID-19 vaccine and treatment pipeline and have specific expectations for how pharmaceutical companies should continue innovating in this space – as well as other therapy areas – moving forward.

Americans Want Big Pharma to Expand Their Response to COVID-19

The pandemic spurred unprecedented innovation in the pharmaceutical sector, and Americans aren’t ready for this rapid advancement to stop anytime soon: For example, 29 percent believe a better COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the near future. Americans have additional priorities in mind regarding COVID-19, including:

  • 32 percent think pharmaceutical companies need to conduct more clinical trials to measure how well the current vaccines protect against the latest variants
  • Nearly a quarter (24 percent) think pharmaceutical companies need to invest in more COVID-19 preventive measures for those who are unable to get a vaccine
  • Just over one in five (21 percent) think pharmaceutical companies need to have a stronger role in tackling vaccine inequity

Additionally, Americans have an acute awareness of the sector’s key partnerships (i.e., Merck and Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and BioNTech, etc.), and 42 percent expect pharmaceutical companies to keep working together in the future to develop more COVID-19 preventive care and treatments. Notably, this expectation for collaboration extends beyond the COVID-19 space: 39 percent of Americans say they expect pharmaceutical companies to keep working together to speed the pace of innovation in other areas such as cancer, other infectious diseases, and more.

Despite this desire for the pharma industry to tackle COVID-19 variants and expand protections, one in four (25 percent) Americans say they’re worried that other key drug treatments and innovations not related to COVID-19 are being sidelined because of a focus on COVID-19. In turn, companies looking to quell these concerns will likely need to invest in public outreach to publicize additional drugs and clinical developments in their trial pipeline.

Consumers Demand Clinical Trial Transparency

We can assume Americans are aware that additional research is still needed around COVID-19, and nearly one in seven (13 percent) say they’d be open to enrolling in a clinical trial to help develop new COVID-19 therapies. Notably, 15 percent said they’d be more likely to participate in trials for future COVID-19 vaccines/treatments if they provided increased protection against the latest variants, signaling to the industry that a focus on new strains – like Omicron – could be the linchpin to boosting participation and working toward long-term immunity.

But many Americans are still expecting more from big pharma when it comes to trial transparency, especially surrounding COVID-19 vaccine/treatment development. For instance:

  • 22 percent don’t think pharmaceutical companies are sharing enough regular updates around the ongoing clinical trials for COVID-19 booster vaccines or treatments, like the oral antiviral pill
  • One in five (20 percent) don’t think pharmaceutical companies are sharing enough details on diversity within the ongoing clinical trials for COVID-19 booster vaccines or treatments

COVID-19 Makes Personalized Medicine Top of Mind for Consumers

Even though the pharmaceutical industry has been working with mRNA technology since the 1970s, 28 percent of Americans say they didn’t know what an mRNA vaccine was before they heard about the COVID-19 vaccines. Now, over one in five (23 percent) say they understand the difference between how an mRNA vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech) and viral vector vaccine (J&J) works. Similarly, 90 percent of Americans say they’ve heard of personalized medicine and gene editing, reinforcing the industry’s investment in this area.

However, nearly one in five (17 percent) Americans say they still don’t understand what an mRNA vaccine is or how it works – in this way, companies looking to expand their mRNA product pipeline must invest in more public education resources to see the commercial payoff and get consumers on board with this new technology.

“COVID-19 has pushed pharmaceutical innovation into the broader public consciousness,” said Mike Wenger, VP of Patient Engagement at Informa Pharma Intelligence. “Americans not only have a much deeper understanding of and willingness to participate in the clinical process to develop new therapies, but they’re also forming distinct opinions about how pharmaceutical companies should be prioritizing their pipelines moving forward. All attention will be on big pharma’s response as the latest COVID-19 variants – like Omicron – continue to spread across the U.S., from their approach to improving vaccines to their transparency around ongoing clinical trials and concerted efforts to mitigate vaccine inequities.”

The full report will soon be available online at Informa Pharma Intelligence.

Research Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was adults 1244. Fieldwork was undertaken between November 16 and 17, 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

About Informa Pharma Intelligence

Informa Pharma Intelligence powers a full suite of analysis products – Datamonitor Healthcare™, Sitetrove™, Trialtrove™, Pharmaprojects™, Biomedtracker™, Scrip™, Pink Sheet™ and In Vivo™ – to deliver the data needed by the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry to make decisions and create real-world opportunities for growth.

With more than 400 analysts keeping their fingers on the pulse of the industry, no key disease, clinical trial, drug approval or R&D project isn’t covered through the breadth and depth of data available to customers. For more information, visit

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