Tongjitang stops production at earthquake hit plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pfizer Chief executive officer

Tongjitang Chinese Medicines, which produces traditional
treatments, has stopped manufacturing operations at its facility in
Guiyang, Guizhou province due to damage caused by the recent
earthquake.

The plant manufactures Tongjitang's flagship product Xianling Gubao (XLGB), which is approved by China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) for the treatment of osetoporosis, osteoarthritis, ischemic bone fractures and bone necrosis. The company reported that the site's water system has been damaged, severely compromising the quality of the available supply. Tongjitang's chief executive officer (CEO), Xiaochun Wang, said that the company is "committed to the highest quality levels of production​," and added that "currently, we are working diligently to make sure that production will be resumed as soon as conditions allow​." When asked by in-PharmaTechnologist.com of the likely duration and financial impact of the manufacturing halt, Tongjitang said that it wished to make no additional comments. Earthquake impact still unclear ​ Other drug producers in the country have been more fortunate. Both Dragon Pharmaceuticals and Tianyin Pharmaceutical, which have facilities located at the epicentre of the affected region in Sichuan Province, said that manufacturing operations had not been affected. Additionally, Huifeng Bio-Pharmaceutical, a producer of plant extracts and pharmaceutical raw materials for the drug industry, said that its production facilities had not been damaged by the earthquake. Huifeng's CEO, Jing'An Wang, said that "while we are happy to report that neither our employees nor our facilities suffered any harm, Huifeng is prepared to provide support to victims of this terrible disaster​." He added that "all company operations have returned to normal and all employees are back at work."​ Among the many non-Chinese pharmaceutical firms operating in the region, details of the earthquake's impact are still unclear. When approached by in-PharmaTechnologist.com, Pfizer's director of worldwide communications for international regions, Imraan Munchi, said: "no colleague casualties have been reported following [last] Monday's magnitude 7.9 earthquake in central China and local Pfizer offices do not appear to be damaged."​ He added that "since the earthquake, Pfizer has been in contact with all but one supplier and we are continuing our efforts to reach them. There were no serious injuries among the employees of the suppliers we contacted, although there has been some structural damage reported at a few facilities. The majority of Pfizer's suppliers are unaffected and we will continue to monitor the availability of materials and transportation issues in the area to ensure the safe and continued supply of Pfizer products​." The US drug giant said that its Chinese operation will provide up to 10m renminbi ($1.4m) in medicines and financial assistance to relief organisations operating in the region. "We were devastated to hear about the rising death tolls and escalating number of injuries in Sichuan Province​," said Ahmet Esen, country manager of Pfizer China. "Pfizer will work closely with the Chinese Government to provide assistance to victims of the disaster​," Esen added.

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