(Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc. said it restarted production on most manufacturing lines at a critical plant that was severely damaged by a tornado in July, but that all medicines made at the plant wouldn’t be back in full supply until 2024.
In a statement, the drug company said that it “has restarted the majority of its manufacturing lines” at the Rocky Mount, North Carolina facility, with full production expected to begin by the end of this year. Pfizer said it would take well into until next year to bring all the plant’s medicines back into full supply, which it defines as enough inventory to meet historical demand plus several weeks of backup stock at distribution centers.
“While we won’t see an immediate improvement in the ongoing shortages, I am optimistic that things won’t significantly worsen with this expedited reopening,” said Erin Fox, who runs the University of Utah’s drug information service, which tracks shortages. “We haven’t seen a major worsening of shortages due to the tornado – in part because of Pfizer’s transparency about the items affected and actions taken to limit hoarding and enable emergency access.”
The Rocky Mount facility makes about 8% of all injected drugs used in US hospitals. When it was hit by a tornado in July, experts were worried it would exacerbate existing shortages of many older drugs. The company warned basic hospital medicines may experience supply disruptions while the company restored the plant.
So far, the company said it has started production on 13 drugs, which were prioritized based on patient need.
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