Medical device makers see little impact from Fiona on Puerto Rico operations


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September 23 (Reuters) – Medical device companies and some drugmakers with manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico said they did not expect significant disruption from Hurricane Fiona, which knocked out power more than 3 million people and caused flooding and landslides on the island.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which worked with companies to prevent drug and medical device shortages after Hurricane Maria hit the medical manufacturing hub in 2017, said it was in discussions with the companies it regulates about any impact on supplies.

Most of the companies Reuters spoke to, including Baxter International , said they had initially temporarily halted operations or had been running their factories with generators since Fiona struck on Sunday .

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None said they expect US supply to be significantly disrupted by the storm, in part due to infrastructure changes, such as the construction of their generator, in the wake of the hurricane. Mary.

The island’s power grid is owned by the bankrupt state-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and is now operated by LUMA Energy, a private joint venture of Canadian energy company ATCO Ltd and US energy contractor Quanta Services (PWR.N) .

Although the pace of power restoration has been much faster than after Maria’s devastation, around 1 million homes and businesses remain without power. Baxter, which makes small bags for intravenous medications, clinical nutrition products and inhaled anesthetics in Puerto Rico, said its facilities suffered “little to no damage” from the storm.

By Thursday, Baxter had restarted operations and was operating at normal levels before the hurricane, spokeswoman Lauren Russ said.

The company posted $70 million in revenue after Hurricane Maria in 2017, prompting it to diversify into manufacturing key products.

Ahead of hurricane season, the company is now stockpiling some products and stocking much of them in the continental United States, Russ said, adding that Baxter has good inventory levels for most products made in Puerto Rico and the United States. Dominican Republic for US customers.

Integra Lifesciences (IART.O) and Abbott Laboratories have also improved backup generators and communications capabilities and enhanced plant infrastructure such as improved roofs and pipes, their spokespersons said.

“Most MedTech companies are better prepared with more redundancy” than when Maria hit, JP Morgan analyst Robbie Marcus in a research note.

Spokespersons for other medical device companies, including Becton Dickinson (BDX.N), Medtronic (MDT.N), Edwards Lifesciences (EW.N) and Stryker (SYK.N), also said they did not see a major impact on operations from Hurricane Fiona. because of the measures taken following Maria.

Drugmakers with factories in Puerto Rico said they were also able to maintain production and supplies.

Johnson & Johnson said operations were restored at all of its locations in Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

AbbVie’s (ABBV.N) facilities are intact and operational and are unlikely to have an impact on patients or product shortages due to Fiona, according to a person familiar with the company’s operations who has asked not to be named.

Eli Lilly and Co has not experienced any disruptions to its site or supply, spokeswoman Molly McCully said.

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Reporting by Leroy Leo and Khushi Mandowara in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Michael Erman; edited by Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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