Nephron CEO and SCBIO Board Chair Lou Kennedy speaks out see more
The team at Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. in West Columbia has been honored to answer the call to serve during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
We have shipped hundreds of millions of doses of life-saving respiratory medications to patients nationwide. We have provided tens of thousands of gallons of Nephron-made, FDA-approved hand sanitizer to students, businesses, families and those in need. And we recently announced a $216 million expansion that includes factory production space where we will fill COVID-19 vaccines.
Every Nephron employee has a sense of pride. Of patriotism. But I would be remiss if I failed to mention that we also share a sense of concern.
China is one of the world’s largest suppliers of the precursor chemicals used to make active pharmaceutical ingredients and personal protective equipment. What we have come to recognize firsthand are the perils of dependence on foreign counties, such as China, for medicine and medical supplies.
As trade tensions between China and the United States grew last year, I was afraid China could intentionally disrupt the drug supply chain to the United States, exacerbating the drug shortage crisis, increasing the cost of drugs and potentially killing American patients.
The recurring question I had was: What can America do to break this dangerous dependence?
Now, as the world considers how to deal with China in the aftermath of this pandemic, the picture of a potential supply chain disruption is grimmer, serving as a vivid reminder that we are talking about matters of life and death.
I have been vocal about this issue for quite some time. In fact, I discussed America’s dependence on China for drug ingredients last year with federal officials, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. When U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham visited our plant a few weeks ago, we agreed: Something must be done to find American solutions to this American public health crisis.
So, it should be no surprise that I am excited about the executive order President Trump signed last week to shore up the domestic supply chain for life-saving medicines, reduce dependence on foreign sources of drugs and medical supplies and expand domestic production of both.
When the president signed this new executive order, he said: “As we’ve seen in this pandemic, the United States must produce essential equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals for ourselves. We cannot rely on China and other nations across the globe that could one day deny us products in a time of need. We can’t do it. We can’t do it. We have to be smart.”
I could not agree more.
This is a no-brainer. The pandemic has taught us an important lesson. The best way to protect American patients, families and businesses is onshoring production of the things we need to keep them healthy and safe.
Over the past five months, the American people have endured hardships no one could have foreseen. We grieve with those who have lost loved ones to this unrelenting silent enemy. We support business owners small and large who want to slow the spread of this virus so we can reopen the world’s greatest economy. And we share the frustrations many people feel with politicians who are focused on winning the next election, rather than preparing for the next public health crisis.
We are grateful for these first steps President Trump is taking to make sure we never end up in this place again.
At Nephron, we have the technology, resources and people it takes to successfully partner with the federal government to make the public health preparedness infrastructure of this nation stronger than ever. South Carolina can and will be a leader in the effort to find American solutions for American public health.
This new executive order is the right way to do it.
SC's Post-COVID Future to be discussed June 23 in free webinar see more
Four leaders from the Palmetto State will be joined by a national expert on Infectious Disease June 23 at 10 a.m. for a free webinar discussion on leadership strategies to help South Carolina weather the challenges of COVID-19 and rebound rapidly from the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Entitled “Bold Leadership in the Eye of the Storm: Insights & Strategies to Secure Our Future", the program will feature U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham; University of South Carolina President Robert Caslen; Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals; and Dr. Phyllis Arthur, VP Infectious Diseases and Diagnostics Policy, BIO. The group discussion will be moderated by Sam Konduros, CEO of SCBIO, the state’s life sciences economic development organization.
The group will discuss such topics as:
- How major universities, colleges and school systems will strive to safely reopen to welcome back students in the Fall, while also encouraging participation in related educational and social activities that are core to the educational experience
- National/global feedback on how the life sciences industry has fared to date in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and the likelihood and timing for major advances in testing, treatment and vaccines becoming available across the country
- Industry’s perspective on the approach taken to accelerate the reopening of South Carolina’s economy, and what must be done to ensure safety for citizens while battling against the troublesome economic downturn the pandemic has created
- The strategic importance of developing policy around the re-shoring production of essential healthcare equipment, pharmaceuticals and ingredients, personal protective equipment and other medical products and devices back to the US and South Carolina from abroad.
Participation in the webinar is free to all interested parties. Those wishing to participate can register while space remains at https://www.scbio.org/events/lessons-learned-by-industry-government-higher-education-from-the-covid-crisis.
The 60-minute program will provide attendees with a real-time review of the pandemic’s impact in South Carolina to date, implications for returning to normalcy in the upcoming months, and insights and strategies to secure and enhance the state’s future. The panelists will also address a realistic path forward as South Carolina begins the move to return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.
“Our goal is to bring the diverse viewpoints of top leaders in government, industry, education and the life sciences industry together in one forum to assess where we are, and how we can make a difference for our citizens in recovering from COVID-19’s impact in the weeks to come,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.
“The panelists will also share their insights on important lessons learned, strategies for the future, and ways for all South Carolinians to come together to solve health, social and economic challenges and improve quality of life for our citizens,” he added.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 600 firms directly involved and 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products. The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries. As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, medtech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups.
For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.
Nephron announces 5% salary increases thanks to tax cuts law see more
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. – Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron) CEO Lou Kennedy today announced five percent increases for all employees with the exception of commissioned employees. The raises are a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.
“We are excited that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has given us an opportunity to recognize their hard work and sacrifices with well-deserved raises”, said Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron.
Elected officials – including The Honorable Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Joe Wilson, state legislators and local elected officials – joined Kennedy and Nephron employees for today’s announcement celebration at the company’s West Columbia headquarters. Both of South Carolina’s U.S. Senators and six of the state’s seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
"I am grateful that the tax cuts House Republicans worked so hard to pass have had an immediate impact in the district,” said Congressman Joe Wilson. “I congratulate Lou and Bill Kennedy, as well as Nephron's entire team, on today’s announcement, and I wish them continued success.”
Nephron is a manufacturer of respiratory and compounded 503B outsourcing medications that employs 640 people in West Columbia. The company, which launched 34 new products in 2017, recently announced a $12.5 million expansion and expects to add 125 additional employees by June 2018.
Fifty percent of Nephron employees attended South Carolina universities or technical colleges. Nephron founder Bill Kennedy and CEO Lou Kennedy are University of South Carolina graduates and South Carolinians. The company is part of the life sciences industry in the State. This industry has a total $11.4 billion annual impact on the State economy.
For more information about Nephron, visit http://www.nephronpharm.com.