Pfizer Says Supply of Some Drugs May Be Disrupted after NC Tornado

ABC Affiliate WTVD via REUTERS
The roof of a Pfizer facility shows heavy damage after a tornado passed the area in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, U.S. July 19, 2023.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Drugmaker Pfizer Inc said over 30 drugs, including injections of painkiller fentanyl and anesthetic lidocaine, may see supply disruption after a tornado destroyed a warehouse at its Rocky Mount, North Carolina, plant last week.

The company sent a letter late last week to its hospital customers saying it had identified around 64 different formulations or dosages of those more than 30 drugs produced at the plant that may experience continued or new supply disruptions.

The company has placed limits on how much supply of those drugs its customers can buy.

It said the list was “based on Pfizer market share and inventory levels of less than 3 months across our Pfizer distribution centers and the wholesale chain.”

The tornado that struck the site on Wednesday completely destroyed the warehouse, but production facilities there do not seem to have suffered major damage, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said last week.

The Rocky Mount plant is one of the largest factories for sterile injectable medicines in the world. Its products include anesthesia, painkillers and anti-infective medicines for use in hospitals.

Nearly 25% of Pfizer’s sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals are produced there, according to the company’s website.

Michael Ganio, senior director of pharmacy practice and quality for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, said many of the drugs on Pfizer’s list are already facing shortages.

“It’s very likely hospitals and health systems have already begun managing those shortages or have strategies in place to manage them,” he said. “So hopefully, there will be minimal impact.”