MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A Monongalia County Delegate is attempting one last effort to keep the former Mylan Pharmaceutical Plant open.
In a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer urged the federal government to consider designating the soon to be closing former Mylan Plant (now owned by Viatris) as a critical infrastructure facility. This is one of several efforts that are being taken by local officials to try and keep the plant from being fully shuttered at the end of July.
“I asked CISA to designate the Mylan Plant as critical infrastructure,” Fleischauer explained. “There was a plant in Bristol that received that designation, Bristol Tennessee, it was an antibiotic plant,” she said, stating previous examples
If the designation of the plant (now owned by Viatris) is granted within the July 31 deadline, it would provide a federal requirement to keep the plant open in it’s Morgantown location. This would include allowing for the equipment, standard operating procedures, intellectual property and related drug applications to stay put in the facilities and at least for the length of the COVID-19 pandemic, will keep the facility open along with it’s approximately 1,500 employees.
“We would like to make sure that when we need medicine, that we’re not dependent on India and China and that we have our own supply of equipment, this is a state of the art facility,” said Fleischauer.
With the request being sent less than two weeks away from the official closing of the Viatris Plant, Fleischauer acknowledges that this effort is very much a “Hail Mary” attempt of trying to keep the facility open. In the meantime, she stated that she is making efforts, much like other local officials, to continue to find avenues to possibly save the facility and the 1,500 jobs at stake, and more importantly getting support for said avenues.
“I don’t know what the chances are but I think when you want something really badly, and you need something very badly which we do, we need that plant desperately, then you fight for it,” said Fleischauer. “And you fight for it until the very last minute,” she said.
So now with the request formally sent, Fleischauer says it is now a wait and see situation. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, will have a new director in Jen Easterly, who was confirmed in her position last week. After being sworn in, it is expected that the decision would have to come in about less than a week before the Viatris Plant that has been a part of the Morgantown Community for close to half a century, will close it’s doors. With the tight time frame and Viatris’ recent lack of communication on the plant confirming their decision, the situation has now become a more impatient hope for the best scenario.
“The new director was just confirmed unanimously a week ago, and we have only two weeks left before the plant is suppose to shut down, so we’re waiting anxiously,” she said.