In this aerial image, damage is seen after a tornado struck the Pfizer pharmaceutical plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina two days earlier, July 21, 2023.
Sean Rayford | Getty Images
The plant supplies nearly 8% of the sterile injection Drugs used in U.S. hospitals, including anesthetics, pain relievers, therapeutics, anti-infectives, and neuromuscular blocking agents. Pfizer added that the plant produces about 25% of the company’s sterile injectables.
Pfizer said an initial assessment found that the tornado primarily damaged a warehouse facility that stores raw materials, packaging materials and finished drug products awaiting quality assurance.
The drugmaker did not say whether it expected the damage to lead to shortages of new drugs or exacerbate current shortages. care Some health experts.
The damage comes at a time when the U.S. is already facing unprecedented shortages of medicines ranging from ADHD drugs and painkillers to injectable cancer treatments. These shortages are caused by factors such as manufacturing quality control issues and a surge in demand.
The North Carolina plant is closed, and Pfizer and local and federal authorities are further assessing the damage.
The company noted that 3,200 Pfizer employees and contractors working at the plant were able to evacuate and reach shelters before the tornado struck.
The drugmaker said it was working to move medicines to nearby locations for storage and to find sources to replace damaged raw materials and supplies.
Pfizer is also exploring alternative manufacturing locations in the U.S. and internationally through its own facilities and partners.
It is “committed to quickly restoring full functionality at this site, which plays a critical role in the US healthcare system,” the company said. It is one of Pfizer’s 10 manufacturing sites in the country.
Pfizer also noted that it is working closely with FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other state, local and federal officials.
Califf said in an article twitter post On Thursday, the FDA said it was “closely monitoring developments.”