July 27, 2023
NPR recently published an article featuring Rena Conti, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law, discussing how recent tornadoes have caused disruption to a critical Pfizer factory supply in the U.S.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies do not disclose the exact locations where drugs are manufactured. Although Pfizer denied the disclosure request, NPR was able to determine that dozens of drugs are made there including painkillers and anesthetics used in hospitals by using records from the National Institutes of Health.
“There are approximately 230 drugs in short supply currently in the United States. The Pfizer plant will definitely take down another couple of dozen drugs, and a handful of those will likely go into shortage, or the shortages will become more persistent because of what happened. However, there are somewhere on the order of 6,000 drugs sold into the U.S. market every single day,” Conti stated.
Conti also expressed that this is a reminder that climate change rings in as a vulnerability of the U.S. drug supply. She recalls in 2017 a hurricane damaged a supply of IV saline bags. The risk stems from pharmaceutical manufacturing being located near required water access, usually including Puerto Rico or the Gulf states.