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A tornado ripped apart a Pfizer manufacturing facility in North Carolina Wednesday afternoon, damaging a massive storage of critical medicines used in hospitals throughout the U.S.
The tornado caused significant damage in Nash County — damaging vegetation and homes — in addition to the Pfizer Rocky Mount facility.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said, “I’ve got reports of 50,000 pallets of medicine that are strewn across the facility and damaged through the rain and the wind.”
Pfizer said in a statement, “We can confirm that the Pfizer Rocky Mount facility was damaged by the tornado.”
“Pfizer colleagues at the site followed our established safety protocol and were able to evacuate. They are safe and accounted for,” the company added. “We are assessing the situation to determine the impact on production. Our thoughts are with our colleagues, our patients, and the community as we rebuild from this weather incident.”
The company’s website said that the Rocky Mount facility was “one of the largest sterile injectable facilities in the world, with more than 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space on 250 acres in Eastern North Carolina.”
The facility is responsible for manufacturing nearly a quarter of all sterile injectables that are used in U.S. hospitals.
“At this facility, a wide range of products are produced, including anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers,” the company said. “These products are available in small volume presentations, such as ampules, vials and syringes, and large volume presentations, such as IV bags and semi-rigid bottles.”
The facility produces “more than 400 million units leaving the Rocky Mount site annually help treat patients around the world.”