Pfizer, which has been working to build back capacity at its troubled sterile injectables plant in Kansas, is hoping to add hundreds of employees in the coming weeks.
The company plans to hire up to 350 workers for the plant in McPherson, Kansas, the Hutchinson News reports. The drugmaker is holding a job fair Wednesday in nearby Wichita and hopes to have some employees hired within 30 to 45 days, Carole Johnson, Pfizer McPherson site leader, told the newspaper.
A Pfizer spokesman today confirmed the plans and said the new employees are needed because of growing demand for Pfizer’s injectable drugs.
Some of that may be pent-up demand. The plant is one of the key suppliers of injected drugs, including injected painkillers, to U.S. hospitals. Shortages of these hospital-administered pain medications, including morphine and fentanyl, started a year ago when Pfizer reduced output of prefilled syringes as part of an upgrade at its troubled sterile drug manufacturing site that had received a warning letter.
Last fall, Pfizer told customers that because upgrades were taking longer than expected, "full recovery dates of prioritized prefilled syringes” had moved to the first quarter of 2019 and deprioritized syringes to Q2 2019.
Then, earlier this year, the problem worsened when the contractor that makes a key component of the Carpuject and iSecure injectors Pfizer uses with those drugs ran into its own production issues. To ensure safety, Pfizer said it had to put a quality hold on the injectors, again interrupting production.
Pfizer began shipping Capuject products again this year and has made improvements at the plant, which received a closeout of the warning letter in June.