65 drugs at risk of new, worsened shortages after tornado hit Pfizer plant

Pfizer told hospital buyers that 65 of its products "may experience continued or new supply disruptions in the near term" because less than three months' worth of supply is in the market. 

In a letter dated July 21 — two days after a tornado struck one of its largest drug manufacturing plants — Pfizer said the "three-month inventory threshold represents an abundance of caution based on the information available today and is not reflective of any estimates of production restart."

The list includes multiple drugs already in shortage, such as blood pressure drug dobutamine, blood thinner heparin, common antibiotic dextrose, and local anesthetics lidocaine and bupivacaine.

Before the tornado hit the Rocky Mount, N.C.-based facility, Pfizer told the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists it expected its shortages of heparin to resolve between July and August and dobutamine in August. There is no estimated resupply date for dextrose.

In early July, Pfizer predicted some bupivacaine solutions to be unavailable until March 2025. The company also forecast its lidocaine shortage to slowly resolve between July and October 2023. It's unclear if or how these shortages will be affected.

The tornado mostly damaged the plant's warehouse, but the manufacturing side is closed as officials assess structural integrity and transfer finished product to other distribution centers.

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