Drug shortages expected as Pfizer's manufacturing issues linger

On its third-quarter earnings call Oct. 30, Pfizer said it is still experiencing manufacturing problems at some Hospira plants, meaning the supply shortage of several common sterile injectable drugs will continue for hospitals, according to Bloomberg.

Hospira, acquired by Pfizer in 2015, is one of the leading manufacturers of injectable drugs, biosimilars and infusion technologies.

The "ongoing legacy Hospira sterile injectable supply shortages" offset some of the company's revenue growth in the third quarter, Pfizer CEO Ian Read said. And those shortages are likely to continue, further affecting the drugmaker's revenue.

Pfizer narrowed its financial guidance to between $53 billion and $53.7 billion, down from its estimate in the second quarter of $53 billion to $55 billion in revenue. About $500 million of the shortfall could be attributed to Hospira.

The drugmaker's Hospira unit in McPherson, Kan., is the largest producer of injectable opioid analgesics used in hospitals, and it has seen several manufacturing issues in the last two years. The FDA sent a warning letter to the plant in February 2017 after visible particulates were found in sterile injectable drugs, which worsened the shortage. The short supply was then exacerbated by more recent issues related to manufacturing quality at the same facility.

A Pfizer spokesperson said it will likely be the end of next year before Hospira supply issues are improved.  

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