Hurricane Maria halts pharma operations in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in Puerto Rico last week, has halted operations at nearly 50 drug plants on the island, reports USA Today.

The island lost power during the storm, and electricity is not expected to be restored for three to six months. Most drug plants in Puerto Rico contain backup power generators, but lack employees to resume operations.

Major drugmakers like Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca are assessing the damage, which could cause national short-term drug shortages if they cannot shift manufacturing capacity to other production sites.

Jennifer Dooren, acting deputy director of operations for the Food and Drug Administration, said the agency coordinated with drug companies before Hurricane Maria "to evaluate the [storm's] potential."

"In the aftermath of the storm, we continue to work closely with pharmaceutical companies [that have] manufacturing facilities located in Puerto Rico to prevent shortages of medically necessary drug products," she said in an email to USA Today.

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