No unified approach for Covid-19 treatment landscape

Global Treatment Patterns Reveal Steady Decline in Hydroxychloroquine Usage and Consistent Increase in Remdesivir Usage in ICU Setting

New York – June 11, 2020 – Since late March, healthcare data collection company and social platform for doctors, Sermo, has been surveying physicians worldwide about their experiences and perceptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of Sermo’s COVID-19 Real Time Barometer, more than 51,300 surveys completed by physicians across 31 countries have reported their treatment strategies and opinions on safety and efficacy to provide a longitudinal view of frontline treatment patterns.

Sermo has found doctors are navigating the treatment landscape with uncertainty and minimal confidence in future developments. When asked about the progress made by the scientific and medical communities in managing COVID-19, only 7% of physicians rated them as doing an “excellent” job developing new drugs and only 10% felt they are doing an “excellent” job developing new treatment regimens. 

Through an analysis of seven weeks of data (April 14 to May 26), Sermo has identified COVID-19 treatment trends:

  • Globally, there has been a consistent decline in hydroxychloroquine usage (61% to 34%) and a steady increase in remdesivir usage (15% to 30%), yet many physicians feel neither drug is “highly effective” in treating COVID-19. 
  • With critical COVID-19 patients in an ICU setting, the treatment strategies doctors worldwide have consistently and most often used include: oxygen (69%), anti-coagulants (51%), steroids (45%) and remdesivir (45%).
  • In the U.S., hydroxychloroquine usage for COVID-19 decreased significantly from 56% to 23% over a seven week period. Usage in other countries has also declined; hydroxychloroquine usage dipped from 63% to 41%. 
  • Increased confidence in remdesivir and a better understanding of who benefits most from the drug have helped drive usage; 62% of U.S. physicians surveyed reported using remdesivir in the ICU during the week of May 26. In contrast, 8% of U.S. doctors treating mild or moderate cases in a community setting were turning to this medication.  

“Through our Barometer, we have consistently gathered a significant sample of physician observations about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” explained Peter Kirk, Sermo CEO. “The physicians’ attitudes and behaviors shared over the past few months are being reinforced now as clinical and industry data begin to emerge. It’s important to recognize that as states continue to ease restrictions and we experience a possible second wave, our healthcare professionals still need better treatments they believe are safe and effective for COVID-19 and can be applied universally.”  

When the novel coronavirus outbreak began, there weren’t any drugs clinically proven to be safe and effective for COVID-19, as it was a new disease. Although research studies are underway, this remains true. 

Sermo surveys show doctors are getting the most relevant COVID-19 information from medical societies, government agencies, physician networks and colleagues. In the absence of approved drugs for COVID-19, this input is helping inform their treatment strategies. Although U.S. healthcare professionals now have a reliable resource in the National Institutes of Health’s treatment guidelines, these do not provide many new prevention or treatment options. 

“I have not had problems with hydroxychloroquine in 38 years of practice, but of course, I have been using it to treat inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, not COVID-19.” said Thomas Namey, MD, rheumatologist in Knoxville, Tennessee. “I believe the drug will not benefit COVID-19 patients, but it may have significant benefits when used in a prophylactic measure.”

About the COVID-19 Real Time Barometer

The Real Time Barometer is an observational study of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak as reported by physicians with firsthand experience of treating COVID-19 patients. Each week, thousands of physicians provide insights on topics regarding the global health crisis. To date, Sermo has conducted 51,300 interviews with doctors in 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan and Australia.

For more information about the Real Time Barometer, including results and methodology, visit

About Sermo

Sermo is the largest healthcare data collection company and social platform for physicians, reaching 1,3MM healthcare professionals across 150 countries. The platform enables doctors to anonymously talk real-world medicine, review treatment options via our proprietary Drug Ratings platform, collectively solve patient cases, and participate in medical market research. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Angela Crawford