U.S. Pfizer plant restarts production after tornado damage

  U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has restarted most of its manufacturing lines at its factory in North Carolina following severe tornado damage, it announced on Monday.

The Rocky Mount facility was struck by a tornado on July 19.

The company expected operations to fully resume by the end of this year, but said some medicines may not be back in full supply until next year.

The resumption of production included the launch of one line in the site’s new sterile injectable manufacturing area referred to as R3, a state-of the-art module approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to the company, the production restart has been prioritised based on patient need and inventory levels.

There are approximately 13 medicines in production on the lines that have restarted.

The first shipments to distribution centres are anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The impact of the tornado on the Rocky Mount facility is expected to affect the supply of medicines from the site until at least mid-2024.

Established in 1968, the facility has more than 3,000 full-time employees and contractors.

It produced nearly 50 medicines, including anesthesia and analgesia drugs and micronutrients.

These medicines comprise about a quarter of Pfizer’s sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals, equating to approximately 8 per cent of the total U.S. hospital supply. (dpa/NAN)