Pfizer's Rocky Mount Site Hit by Tornado, Puts Drug Supplies in Jeopardy

Pfizer's Rocky Mount Site Hit by Tornado, Puts Drug Supplies in Jeopardy

A tornado that hit Pfizer's drug manufacturing site in Rocky Mount, N.C. caused extensive damage, raising concerns about critical drug supplies.

The site produces about one-fourth of the injectable medications Pfizer supplies to U.S. hospitals, including pain relief, sedation and infection-fighting drugs.

It's unclear how much of Pfizer's drug supply was affected, but the tornado caused the worst damage to the company's warehouse.

Low-cost generic products manufactured at the site, such as the sedative propofol, are already among the most shortage-prone on the market.

Many Pfizer medicines were already in short supply before the tornado, with about 130 products marketed to hospitals listed as "depleted."

If the storm damage is limited to the warehouse and does not affect production schedules at the manufacturing plants, that could mitigate potential shortages.

Pfizer has other manufacturing plants where the company could shift some production to ease any shortages resulting from the Rocky Mount destruction.

The tornado's impact on the drug supply chain reinforces the need for resiliency and a true focus on preparedness in the supply chain.

Policy experts, lawmakers, and federal officials have been discussing solutions in recent weeks to prevent drug shortages.

The situation highlights the importance of pandemic preparedness and a focus on building resiliency into supply chains.

Pfizer has not disclosed which drugs were affected, and it remains to be seen how deeply the destruction will exacerbate existing national drug shortages.