Hurricane Maria’s impact on drug manufacturing in PR

D rug manufacturing was shuttered in Puerto Rico (PR) due to Hurricane Maria as the infrastructure faced extensive damage affecting trade and business. More than 50 pharmaceutical plants were lazed out, halting production. The pharmaceutical industries subsidize to the employment of approximately 1 lakh people.

The island being world’s largest pharma hub covers top pharma companies including Abbott, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Baxter, Biovail, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Ivax, Johnson & Johnson, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Novastis, Patheon, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Schering Plough, Warner Chilcott, Watson, Wyeth, etc.

Federal officials and major drug makers feared shortages of critical drugs for treating cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as medical devices and supplies. Accordingly, FDA kept an eye on critical medical products and aided to maintain production lines and logistical support, and issued warning on drug shortage beforehand.

About $15 billion business got affected due to lack of electricity supply as well as shortage of diesel to run generators, extensive damage to roads affecting commute and many such hindrances due to this devastating natural calamity.

Slow start of manufacturing units after the disaster may lead manufacturers to think about shifting of production elsewhere. Pharma companies likely to face medium to long-term consequences as the aftermath can make investors rethink to close the operations affecting PR’s economy. Pharma companies are still assessing the damage and impact in PR to start operations as early as possible. Addition of new plants in PR also becomes a question now.