Medical manufacturers with facilities in Puerto Rico are still assessing damage caused by Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit the island in more than 80 years.
Maria made landfall with Category 4 winds of 155 mph on Sept. 20, then dumped 30 inches of rain on parts of the U.S. territory, knocking out power across the island to 3.4 million people, blowing apart homes, flooding streets and triggering mudslides.
Puerto Rico is home to more than 70 medical device manufacturing plants and thousands of the industry's employees. Lured by tax incentives and a skilled workforce, dozens of plastics-related medical brands operate there, including Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Medical Optics, Pfizer, Stryker and Nelipak Healthcare.
Like the resin producers and plastics processors that faced Hurricane Harvey in Texas, many medical equipment makers and pharmaceutical firms closed ahead of Hurricane Maria.
Medtronic Inc., which makes medical devices such as pacemakers, shuttered its facilities and put together an internal emergency response team.
"The safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority and we continue to closely monitor the situation in Puerto Rico," Medtronic spokesman Fernando Vivanco said in a Sept. 22 email to Plastics News. "We continue to assess the impacts of Hurricane Maria on our employees, facilities, customers and the patients we serve, but it is too early to make any determinations right now."
Medtronic has Puerto Rican operations in Humacao, Juncos, San Juan and Villalba, according to its website.
Prent Corp. announced Sept. 19 that it was halting production in Yauco, where it opened a thermoforming operation with clean room services in 2006.
The Janesville, Wis.-based company manufactures custom packaging for the medical, electronics and consumer markets. The Yauco facility currently is the largest thermoforming supplier on the island, according to Prent's latest newsletter.