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  • USA: Hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires: How biopharma is girding for climate change

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USA: Hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires: How biopharma is girding for climate change

Source(s):  STAT News

By Kate Sheridan


STAT surveyed the risk assessment plans for more than a dozen major pharmaceutical companies and spoke with officials at labs that survived extreme weather events and others who are planning to avoid their repercussions. All emphasized that the risks are already real — and underscored how hard the industry is working to prepare to meet the challenge.


In the last five years alone, extreme weather has caused massive disruptions in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Hurricanes and flooding can wipe out research and manufacturing facilities, smoke and air pollution from forest fires threaten experiments and lab animals — as do frigid temperatures and power outages. And the gradual rise in average temperatures have some concerned that plants and animals that serve as sources of existing and potential new drugs may vanish.

Pfizer, for example, estimates it lost $195 million in inventory and overhead when three Puerto Rico manufacturing facilities were wiped out by the recent devastating hurricane season. Eli Lilly ran its Puerto Rico facility with emergency diesel generators “for months” after the storm.


Most of the major biotech and pharmaceutical companies have been preparing for climate change for years. 

Johnson & Johnson and Novo Nordisk scored an A rating from CDP; Sanofi, Pfizer, Roche, Novartis, Merck, Eli Lilly, Takeda, and Biogen all scored an A minus. GlaxoSmithKline and AbbVie earned B ratings, and Amgen and Bristol Myers Squibb got C’s. The ratings are based on the company’s awareness and management of climate change issues.

The size and type of their investments in those preparations vary.


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  • Publication date 15 Feb 2019

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