CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Production at the former Mylan pharmaceutical plant in Morgantown has ceased, but efforts to save the plant and 1,400 jobs have not, according to Gov. Jim Justice.
During the live coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Justice said multiple efforts are ongoing to find a company to operate the facility.
“We’re not ready to quit,” Justice said. “We’re not ready to lay down our pens. We continue to work like crazy to try to help.”
The plant, operating under the drug company Viatris, officially closed last Saturday. Viatris first announced the closing last December as part of cost-cutting plans.
Justice expressed disappointment Wednesday that efforts to to get federal help to keep the plant open have thus far been fruitless.
“I think it’s pitiful, pitiful, absolutely pitiful that our federal government at this time, with something as critical as pharmaceuticals are to our citizens, is just deciding to sit on the sideline and let this catastrophe happen.”
He said multiple state and federal elected officials have written letters to the Biden-Harris administration and to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly about using the plant as part of the nation’s efforts to battle the pandemic.
For 56 years the plant produced everything from supplements to a variety of medications. The demand for those products will still be met, but likely from an off-shore location creating security and supply chain concerns.
“You’ve got a situation where a plant was producing pharmaceuticals that were the best, of the best, of the best, of the best,” Justice said. “Now we’re going to farm that out to India where the dependability is marginal at best.”
Justice said he has been working with First District Congressman David McKinley on a dedicated bill that would specifically target keeping plant in operation. Justice said McKinley is facing opposition among his peers and has considered including the proposal with other legislation.
Justice encourages people to contact the congressman to express support for the effort.
“They’re trying to tag it along to other bills and maybe that’s the only way to do it,” Justice said. “He needs your help, we need your help, we need everybody’s help.”
The plant is officially in the process of being dismantled, but Justice said his team continue conversations with possible suitors.
“There’s the potential of other things going on that I can’t disclose to you. There are conversations going on right now that could solve this riddle,” he said.