Pfizer’s North Carolina Facility Hit by Tornado, Raising Concerns About US Medication Supply

Updated on:

Pfizer’s North Carolina Plant Hit by Tornado, Threatening US Drug Supply

A massive sterile injectables facility, considered one of the world’s largest, has fallen victim to a devastating natural disaster.

On Wednesday, Pfizer announced that its manufacturing plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, sustained damage from a tornado. The company is currently assessing the extent of the impact on production, as confirmed in a statement on Twitter.

Fortunately, all Pfizer employees at the Rocky Mount facility were safely evacuated and accounted for. The plant, with approximately 4,500 employees, is responsible for producing around 25% of all sterile injectables used in US hospitals. Spanning an impressive 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space, Pfizer proudly labels it as one of the largest sterile injectable facilities globally.

However, the damage caused by the tornado is likely to lead to “long-term shortages,” warned Erin Fox, the senior pharmacy director at the University of Utah Health, according to The Associated Press. A picture posted by Reuters from ABC affiliate WTVD showcased severe damage to the plant’s roof.

Pfizer had acquired the Rocky Mount facility as part of its Hospira acquisition in 2015, worth $17 billion.

The tornado’s path extended approximately 16.5 miles on the ground, with wind speeds reaching up to 150 miles per hour, according to CNN, citing the National Weather Service.

The news of the devastation at Pfizer’s plant had an unintended impact on the market. Hikma, Pfizer’s sterile injectables rival, saw its shares surge up to 9.4%, the largest single-day increase since September, as reported by Reuters. Analysts pointed out that Hikma is the second-largest supplier of injectables to the US market, just behind Pfizer. Additionally, shares of another major injectables supplier in the US, Germany’s Fresenius, climbed 6.1%.

While pharmaceutical manufacturing plants are designed to be resilient, they are sometimes vulnerable to the powerful forces of nature. In 2017, Hurricane Maria briefly shut down much of the industry’s production sites in Puerto Rico as companies assessed the storm’s toll on their operations.

Share This News