By Kate Magill of Manufacturing Drive,
Pfizer plans to restart production at its damaged Rocky Mount, North Carolina manufacturing site by Q4 of this year, the company announced Monday.
The drugmaker reopened the site on Aug. 7 and said efforts to restart production are on track, with several areas of the site now operational, including its Incoming Materials, Chemical and Biological Quality labs, packaging and inspection operations and supply chain and warehouse.
Pzifer has been scrambling to get production back on track at Rocky Mount after a tornado ripped through the facility last month, causing extensive damage to its warehouse. All 40,000 pallets of packaging supplies and finished goods in the company’s warehouse were damaged.
The shutdown of the site — which produces nearly 50 types of drugs, including about a quarter of Pfizer’s sterile injectable drugs such as painkillers and anesthesia — sparked worry about shortages across the country. The site produces 8% of U.S. supply of sterile injectable drugs.
In a move to mitigate future issues, the company is working to release any product that was not impacted and passes inspection to distribution channels. It also secured the use of a temporary warehouse.
“Pfizer is also working on knowledge and documentation transfers for product manufacturing (tech transfers) to other sterile injectable sites in the network to accelerate the supply of its products,” the company said in its announcement.
“This includes working with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance and to obtain approvals.”
As part of its strategy to avoid shortages, earlier this month drugmaker released a list of 12 drugs put on its emergency ordering list, meaning they can only be ordered directly from Pfizer and in capped quantities.
The company also noted in an earlier update that it is exploring the use of alternative manufacturing sites at other U.S. locations in its network.