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FDA Fast Facts: Hurricane Florence Response Efforts

FDA Fast Facts: Hurricane Florence Response Efforts

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2018
Media Inquiries: Megan McSeveney, 240-402-4514, megan.mcseveney@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

While Hurricane Florence dissipated into a tropical depression on Sunday, unfortunately, the danger has not yet passed for many, especially those in the Carolinas, who are coping with historic flooding. At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, our teams remain dedicated to supporting the response and recovery for this devastating storm. The priority right now is focused on response and lifesaving actions, especially in regard to supporting the safety of those impacted by significant flooding.

“Flooding associated with a hurricane’s impact can be devastating. I am extremely proud of the many FDA employees who have already deployed to help North and South Carolina begin their recovery as quickly as possible. These men and women are also supported by hundreds of other FDA employees who are working diligently to do all they can to help support the hurricane response and recovery, whether it is helping keep consumers safe by providing advice on food safety and insulin storage, or helping farmers, pharmacies, manufacturers and the retail food sector recover and return to business,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “As part of our efforts to help prevent any medical product shortages as a result of Hurricane Florence’s impact, our team has been in ongoing, close contact with approximately 30 firms that manufacture critically important medical drugs. Fortunately, at this time, we do not anticipate any critical shortages of medical products, but we recognize we are not out of the clear and there continues to be threats of rapid flooding. If needed, we will not hesitate to tap into any of the measures available to us to help mitigate potential shortages. We are committed to working with states and other partners to assess the storm’s impacts over the coming weeks and take all steps possible to ensure the safety of the products we regulate, including medicines, medical devices, food, and the blood supply.”

The following is an update on FDA’s current response efforts:

Snapshots By the Numbers (as of 9/18/2018)
  • FDA identified and tracked over 7,000 FDA- regulated facilities, including nearly 3,000 medical product firms as the hurricane approached
  • As part of our efforts to help prevent any shortages from the hurricane, FDA continues to monitor closely approximately:
    • 30 firms that manufacture critically important medical drugs
    • 10 firms that manufacture critically important biological products and/or devices
  • FDA has deployed more than 90 Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to assist HHS response efforts, including pharmacists, nurses, physicians, engineers and veterinarians
  • Approximately 100 FDA employees live in areas of concern in NC, SC, and VA. All employees in NC, SC, and VA have been accounted for
  • After VA, NC, and SC were hit by multiple tornadoes in the wake of Hurricane Florence, FDA worked to identify approximately 60 FDA-regulated facilities near those areas and we have begun assessing potential impacts

For more information:

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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines, and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.