Pfizer has restarted the majority of production lines at its Rocky Mount, North Carolina, manufacturing site, just over two months after the factory was badly damaged by a tornado.
The company expects to fully restart production across its three manufacturing sites on the campus by the end of the year, it announced Tuesday. However, the impact of the disaster is expected to affect drug supply through at least mid-2024.
Production at the site currently includes 13 medicines, chosen based on patient need and inventory levels, including products available through Pfizer's emergency ordering process. The first product shipments are expected during Q4 2023, according to the drugmaker.
"While manufacturing has resumed, it is important to note that some medicines may not be back in full supply until next year," the company said. "Pfizer defines supply recovery or ‘full supply’ as sufficient inventory available to meet historical demand projections in addition to several weeks of safety stock in distribution centers."
Due to the extended impact of the natural disaster, Pfizer will keep its emergency ordering process in place indefinitely. It will also distribute products to wholesalers and distributors as inventory allows.
Outside of manufacturing, the company has also begun storing non-production related materials like packaging components in a new on-site warehouse. It continues to release all products not impacted by the tornado.
"Pfizer has also initiated knowledge and documentation transfers (tech transfers) to facilitate product manufacturing at other sterile injectable sites in its network to accelerate the resupply of medicines," the company said.
The drugmaker reopened the Rocky Mount site on Aug. 7, originally planning to restart production by Q4 of this year. The site produces nearly 50 types of drugs, including 8% of U.S. supply of sterile injectable drugs