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Pfizer and FDA work to avoid drug shortages after tornado

July 24, 2023 – No immediate drug shortages are expected following the destruction of a Pfizer warehouse by a tornado in North Carolina last week.

The warehouse was completely destroyed, however the production area of ​​the plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, was spared, the news agency said. Reuters and a Pfizer Press release.

The Rocky Mount facility is one in every of 10 Pfizer factories within the U.S. and produces about 8% of all sterile injectable drugs utilized in U.S. hospitals. Injectable drugs manufactured there include anesthetics, pain relievers, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers, the corporate said.

The damaged warehouse stored raw materials, packaging materials and finished drugs awaiting quality control. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, DVM, PhD, said the pharmaceutical company has about 6 weeks' supply of the affected drugs and it should take weeks for the results to be felt in hospitals, Reuters reported.

In the meantime, the corporate is working to evaluate the damage on the still-closed site and is examining the potential of relocating production to other locations within the United States and abroad, the press release said.

The FDA is working to attenuate the danger of shortages by attempting to acquire additional supplies and by asking other manufacturers to organize to extend their production if needed.

“Although disclosure laws prevent FDA from providing a complete list of products manufactured at the facility, there are redundancies in the supply chain due to other manufacturers,” the FDA said in a news release Friday. “Our initial analysis has identified fewer than 10 drugs for which Pfizer's North Carolina facility is the sole source for the U.S. market. However, some of these are special formulations for which there should be substitutes or for which supplies for many weeks should be available at Pfizer's other warehouses.”

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which maintains a database of drug shortages, currently lists 247 drugs, almost a ten-year high, Reuters reported.