The tornado that struck parts of North Carolina on Wednesday not only damaged the immediate area, but could soon make it much harder for countless people across the U.S. and around the world to obtain needed medicines the next time they visit a hospital.
Among the damaged buildings was a Pfizer plant in Rocky Mountain, N.C. that produces nearly 30% of all sterile injectable medicines that the company sells to U.S. hospitals. The facility, which was built in 1968, commands more than 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space and had been recently expanded, also makes glass vials, plastic vials, syringes, flexible containers and semi-rigid bottles. And local media reports suggested warehouse inventory may have been wiped out.
For the moment, the extent of the destruction remains unclear. A Pfizer spokesperson said the company is trying to determine the impact on production, but told us further details are not yet available.