Advocacy groups seek federal intervention as clock ticks on closing of U.S. generics plant

July 23, 2021

Viatris is set to close the doors on its West Virginia manufacturing plant — the largest generic manufacturing facility in the U.S. — at the end of the month, but labor and advocacy groups are urging the Biden administration to use the Defense Production Act to halt the shutdown.

Viatris' decades-old oral solid dose plant, located in Morgantown, West Virginia, was formerly operated by Mylan. The new company, Viatris, was formed in November 2020, 16 months after the merger between generic giant Mylan and Pfizer generic arm, Upjohn, was announced.

The shutdown is part of a larger global restructuring initiative, announced last December, that is intended to reduce Viatris' cost base by at least $1 billion by the end of 2024 or sooner. As part of the plan, Viatris will close, downsize or divest up to 15 manufacturing facilities globally that are deemed to be "no longer viable either due to surplus capacity, challenging market dynamics or a shift in its product portfolio toward more complex products."

Viatris informed its Morgantown workers of the shutdown plan — which will leave the plant's more than 1,400 workers out of work — on December 11. Media sources have reported that Viatris plans to relocate operations to India and Australia. The facility has not been offered up for sale.

Our Revolution, a political nonprofit organization founded by Bernie Sanders, along with the non-profit Democracy Collaborative, Social Security Works, United Steelworkers Local 8-957, and others have written to the Biden administration appealing for federal action to keep the plant open by invoking the Defense Production Act. So far, no action has been taken.