Sanofi manufacturing plant closed by Italian earthquake

pharmafile | April 17, 2009 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Europe, Italy, Sanofi-Aventis 

A manufacturing facility operated by Sanofi-Aventis in Abruzzo, Italy, remains closed following the earthquake that claimed more than 280 lives earlier this month.

The 233,000 sq. m. production unit at Scoppito near L'Aquila  one of five operated by Sanofi-Aventis in Italy – is unlikely to open for at least two weeks and possibly as many as six, according to the company.

The plant has escaped serious damage in the earthquake as it was designed to resist seismic events, but access to it has been restricted by damage to the local transport network. Moreover, many of the plant's 380 employees have been left homeless, according to a statement issued by Sanofi-Aventis' local subsidiary. Some staff have also sustained serious injuries, it said.

Daniel Lapeyre, managing director of Sanofi-Aventis Italy, said the company had committed resources to the earthquake relief effort being organised by the local authorities in LAquila, the city which bore the brunt of the earthquake.

Sanofi-Aventis has also erected tents that can house 250 people in the grounds of the Scoppito facility, and is also providing aid in the form of food and drink supplies. The company added it will offer economic support to meet the basic needs of employees who find themselves in financial difficulties as a result of the disaster.

Estimates are that 30% of the homes in the Abruzzo region were destroyed, as a result of the earthquake, and many of the businesses providing employment are no longer operating.

Scoppito was set up in the 1970s and is a key production site for a number of Sanofi-Aventis oral dosage form products, including the blood pressure medication ramipril, glimepiride for type II diabetes and the antibiotic telithromycin. It is also intended as a key production site for  new drugs for metabolic and central nervous system diseases, according to Sanofi-Aventis' website.

Sanofi-Aventis said it does not believe there will be any shortages in supply of its medicines as a result of the plant closure.

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