Could Puerto Rico's Destruction Create A Medical Problem For You?

USATODAY -- Puerto Rico is about a thousand miles away from the US. The people, the destruction, may seem far away to you, but the disaster could impact you... In your medicine cabinet.

According to USA TODAY, Puerto Rico accounts for 25% of the US’s pharmaceutical exports. There are 50 pharmaceutical factories on the island, some are operating on backup power.

The FDA issued a warning earlier this week saying there could be shortfalls in some medications, but wasn't specific of which ones. A non-profit that addresses emergency supply chain crises confirms companies are starting to move product off the island

 

Updates from pharmaceutical companies contacted by USA TODAY:

 

Bristol-Myers Squibb: The New York-based pharmaceutical giant said: "we are executing contingency plans that we believe mitigates product supply risk as we assess the situation on the island and work to bring our operations back online."

 

Eli Lilly: The Indianapolis-based company said it expects "no supply risk to patients at this time" after its sites experienced "minimal damage" and advance work helped prevent shortages.

 

"We have multiple internal and external manufacturing sites in our global network that manufacture our products, reducing the risk of supply issues due to a natural disaster," Lilly spokeswoman Tamara Hull said in an email. "We have contingency plans in place and will implement those if needed."

 

Abbvie: The pharmaceutical spinoff of Abbott Laboratories said that its Puerto Rico sites are running on backup power and employees are "working diligently to restore normal operations."

 

The company, which employs about 1,200 people in Puerto Rico, said it had "managed our inventory to assure availability of medicines to patients" and expects "no patient impact."

 

Amgen: The company expects "no interruption to patient supply," spokeswoman Kristen Neese said in an email.

 

Astrazeneca: The U.K.-based pharmaceutical company said it does not anticipate "any impact in production or supply at this time."

 

"We are still in the process of formally assessing the site, however, we believe that given the magnitude of the storm, the facility fared well," astrazeneca spokeswoman Alexandra Engel said in an email.

 

Merck: The company said Monday that it was "still evaluating the potential impact on our operations."

 

"As in any unforeseen situation, we will work to minimize any potential impact to patients and customers," Merck said. "Continuity of supply of our medicines and vaccines has been and remains one of our highest priorities."

 

Pfizer: Pfizer said in a statement that "we have a healthy supply of finished goods" in hand and "we do not see a risk to patient supply at this point."

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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