Engineering News

BICI to Install Capacity at its Facility in Petersburg, Va., to Meet the Fast-Growing Demand for Phenylephrine
Wednesday April 6, 12:18 pm ET

PETERSBURG, Va., April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, Inc. (BICI) announced today that it is investing in its manufacturing facility in Petersburg, Va., to install capacity to produce phenylephrine hydrochloride, an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in medications for nasal decongestion.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, an affiliate of BICI, manufactures the product in Ingelheim, Germany, and is the world's largest producer of phenylephrine. The expansion in Petersburg marks the first time the company will manufacture the product in the United States.

Dr. Anthony J. Corso, President and Chief Operating Officer, said the expansion at the Petersburg facility will begin this year. In addition to installing equipment, the project also involves transferring the company's proprietary and patented production process and technology from Ingelheim to Petersburg.

The cost of the project was not disclosed.

Demand for phenylephrine hydrochloride is growing in the United States and worldwide, fueled by an increasing need to replace pseudoephedrine in cough and cold products. Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical that, when misused, can be used to make the drug methamphetamine, also known as "speed." Phenylephrine hydrochloride cannot be used in making methamphetamine, and there are no restrictions on its use, as there are with pseudoephedrine.

In the United States, 13 states have passed laws or regulations that control access to pseudoephedrine at the retail level. Some laws, for example, require retail stores to keep cold tablets containing pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacist's counter or in locked cabinets, and other laws limit the quantity that can be purchased at a time or within a 30-day period. Additionally, a bipartisan group of 12 U.S. senators introduced a bill in late January to limit consumer sales nationwide of medications containing pseudoephedrine.

For pharmaceutical manufacturers, the various restrictions on pseudoephedrine can lead to higher costs for packaging, transportation and Drug Enforcement Administration compliance, while also reducing or eliminating prime shelf space for these products at the retail level.

"The trend towards increasing the use of phenylephrine as an alternative to pseudoephedrine will escalate," Dr. Corso said. "Phenylephrine has been used as a nasal decongestant successfully in the US and Europe for many years. Its use in the United States will continue to grow as additional states and the federal government consider further restricting access to pseudoephedrine."

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 144 affiliates in 45 countries and nearly 36,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2004, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $10.2 (8.2 billion euro) while spending nearly one fifth of net sales in its largest business segment Prescription Medicines on research and development.

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, Inc.

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