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Mask, pills, stack of cashHow long pandemic-related slowdowns in pharmaceutical sales will last “depends a lot on how we get out of it.” (Photo; Shutterstock)

(Bloomberg) –The health-care industry is grappling with a slow-paced recovery from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, as many people continue to avoid doctors’ offices and a new surge in infections spreads across the U.S.

For drugmakers, the pandemic has squeezed demand for everything from childhood vaccines to smoking-cessation drugs and diabetes treatments. When the virus took root in the U.S. this spring, many doctors and patients put off routine and elective care, leading to fewer prescriptions for a range of medicines. Sales also slumped for drugs used to treat cancer or in surgeries.

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