Pfizer resumes most of its drug production at tornado-damaged North Carolina plant

Pfizer resumes most of its drug production at tornado-damaged North Carolina plant

In the wake of a devastating summer tornado that struck Pfizer’s Rocky Mount injectables plant in North Carolina, significant strides have been made in resuming manufacturing operations. However, Pfizer anticipates that supply shortages for certain drugs produced at the facility will persist into the coming year. Pfizer announced on Monday that the “majority” of manufacturing lines at the Rocky Mount facility have been brought back into operation. Additionally, Pfizer has introduced a new production line in the facility’s recently established sterile injectable manufacturing area, referred to as R3.

Also Read: Less Than Anticipated Supply Impact From Pfizer’s Tornado-Damaged Factory

This rapid resumption of operations has outpaced Pfizer’s previously stated timeline. Just last month, Pfizer had announced its intention to recommence manufacturing activities at the plant in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Pfizer is executing a phased approach to restart production, with the goal of achieving full production across all three manufacturing suites at the site by year-end. The company has carefully coordinated production restarts based on patient requirements and existing inventory levels. Currently, approximately a dozen medications are being manufactured on the restarted lines, including products accessible through Pfizer’s emergency ordering process.

Also Read: Tornado Wreaks Havoc On Pfizer’s Rocky Mount Plant, Causes Drug Shortages

However, Pfizer has issued a cautionary note that complete availability of some medications may be delayed until the following year. It is anticipated that the repercussions of the tornado that struck in July will continue to impact supplies until at least mid-2024.

In the interim, Pfizer intends to maintain its emergency ordering process indefinitely. As inventory levels permit, Pfizer will also periodically distribute additional inventory. The Rocky Mount site, with a workforce comprising over 3,000 full-time employees and contractors, has been in operation since 1968. The facility is responsible for the production of nearly 50 drugs, including anesthesia agents, analgesic medications, and micronutrients. Collectively, these medicines from Rocky Mount constitute approximately 25% of Pfizer’s sterile injectables utilized in US hospitals, equivalent to approximately 8% of the total supply available to US hospitals, according to Pfizer. Pfizer acquired the facility in 2015 as part of its $17 billion purchase of Hospira.

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