Tornado Damages Pfizer Manufacturing Plant Amid Nationwide Drug Shortage

Even as the United States faces a critical shortage of potentially life-saving drugs, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in North Carolina was reportedly demolished by a tornado this week.

According to reports, the Pfizer Rocky Mount facility in Nash County sustained heavy damage on Wednesday, including to the stockpile of medication contained inside.

“I’ve got reports of 50,000 pallets of medicine that are strewn across the facility and damaged through the rain and the wind,” confirmed Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone.

The massive plant is described on Pfizer’s website as “one of the largest sterile injectable facilities in the world, with more than 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space on 250 acres in Eastern North Carolina.”

Nearly one-fourth of all the sterile injectable medication used in hospitals across the country come from this facility, which Pfizer says produces “more than 400 million units” each year.

“At this facility, a wide range of products are produced, including anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers,” a company description explains. “These products are available in small volume presentations, such as ampules, vials and syringes, and large volume presentations, such as IV bags and semi-rigid bottles.”

In its statement confirming the damage, the company wrote: “Pfizer colleagues at the site followed our established safety protocol and were able to evacuate. They are safe and accounted for.”

As for the extent of the impact on the site’s ability to restart the manufacturing process, the company indicated that an assessment is ongoing.

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues, our patients, and the community as we rebuild from this weather incident.”

The news comes as officials nationwide are exploring ways to address a shortage of medications widely prescribed to treat cancer, ADHD, and other issues.

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appealed to the federal government this week to take decisive action and implored the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize domestic pharmaceutical production in order to reduce America’s reliance on foreign companies.

“My hope is that those leaders in D.C. that have the ability to weigh in on this issue will,” she said. “We’ll continue to educate them on why it’s such a critical need for us to address it today.”