A wild video shows the moment a tornado touched down on a North Carolina Pfizer facility, kicking up debris and flattening the roof of the medical supply company.
The tornado, classified as an EF-3, with winds up to 150 miles per hour, partially destroyed the company’s Rocky Mount storage plant on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Although experts feared the damaged plant would create long-term shortages of certain drugs, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said Friday the agency “does not expect an immediate significant impact on supply following the damage from the tornado,” Fox Business reported.
‘For products manufactured at these facilities that are already in or may be at risk of shortages, FDA has initiated mitigation measures, such as seeking additional sources and asking other manufacturers to be prepared to increase production if necessary,’ Califf said.
He added that Pfizer had placed many product innovators on strict allocations to ensure balanced distribution and availability and to avoid stockpiles.
A Pfizer facility in Mount Rocky, North Carolina was hit by a powerful EF3 tornado
Dashcam footage captured strong winds and flying debris that hit the area
The tornado originated near Nashville, North Carolina around 12:35 p.m. and moved northeast through the Rocky Mountains, about 60 miles east of Raleigh, where it destroyed the Pfizer facility.
Strong weather systems battered the region and caused a partial roof collapse at Pfizer’s Rocky Mount facility on Wednesday. The plant is one of the largest of its kind in the world and supplies about 25 percent of all sterile injections used in U.S. hospitals.
According to officials, around 50,000 medicine pallets were damaged.
“This will likely lead to long-term shortages while Pfizer works to either relocate or rebuild production,” Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director at University of Utah Health, told CBS News earlier in the week.
In a statement on social media, Califf described the recent events as a ‘dynamic situation and FDA staff are in frequent contact with Pfizer and other manufacturers.’
“Importantly, we do not expect any immediate significant impact on supply as products are currently in hospitals and distribution systems,” he said in part.
“FDA will work closely with partners in government, industry and the broader healthcare system to minimize the impact on patient care.”
According to officials, around 50,000 medicine pallets were damaged. The destruction threatens the production of anesthetics and other sterile injectables
The Pfizer plant, seen before the demolition, makes vials, syringes, IV bags and bottles of anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers.
The tornado originated near Nashville, North Carolina around 12:35 p.m. and moved northeast through the Rocky Mountains, about 60 miles east of Raleigh, where it destroyed a Pfizer facility.
The pharmaceutical giant said in a statement that all employees were safely evacuated and there were no reports of serious injuries at the plant.
3,200 Pfizer employees and contractors were reportedly able to evacuate and find shelter before the storm touched down on Wednesday.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said a large amount of drugs stored at the plant were thrown away during the tornado.
“I received reports of 50,000 pallets of medications that were scattered throughout the facility and damaged by rain and wind,” the official said, according to CBS News.
Officials in the two counties said 16 people were injured – including two with life-threatening injuries – and 89 buildings were damaged.
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