US President Donald Trump has announced a $500 million investment plan that brings together three American giants to create a pharmaceutical glass packaging initiative which could eventually drive 4,000 jobs. The announcement that Merck, Pfizer and Corning have joined hands to drive manufacturing and create jobs by returning the $4 billion pharmaceutical glass manufacturing to the US “through modernisation and innovation,” was made as part of the ‘Made in America’ week celebrations at the White House. “This initiative will revolutionise pharmaceutical glass packaging for essential medicines and bring back the American pharmaceutical glass industry, which has largely lost to foreign suppliers,” Trump said.
The companies, he said, have formed a “groundbreaking”partnership to create thousands of American manufacturing jobs with this innovative new product. “It’s an incredible product. Merck, Pfizer, and Corningare coming together to create an advanced pharmaceutical glass packaging operations, which include an immediate investment of at least $500 million and the creation of nearly 1,000 new jobs quickly,” he said.
The initial investment will be spread across facilities in New York, New Jersey, and a new yet-to-be determined site in the southeastern United States. “Eventually, the companies here today expect a total investment in this initiative to reach at least $4 billion and create some 4,000 American jobs. And it’s very innovative on top of it,” Trump said, noting that these companies have achieved a breakthrough in pharmaceutical glass technology that will be used to store and deliver injectable drugs and vials and cartridges. “This technology is not only great for American jobs and manufacturing, it’s great for patients who now will have access to safer medicines and vaccines,” he said. Merck CEO Ken Frazier, Pfizer CEO Ian Reed, and Corning CEO Wendell Weeks were present during the announcement.
Weeks invited Trump for a demonstration. “Sometimes I think it’s better to show than to tell,” he said. The display compared a conventional pharmaceutical glass vial to Corning’s Valor Glass product, to show the latter was very difficult to break. Each product was in its own vise-like contraption, which was controlled by a lever. Trump pulled the first lever and the conventional product broke quite easily. “Pretty strong,” Trump said. “You ain’t seen strong yet,” Weeks replied, leading to a prompt laugh from the executives. Weeks then asked Trump to do the same with the Valor Glass but encouraged him to not “be afraid to lean into it.” A grimacing Trump pulled down the lever using both hands,prompting Weeks to joke, “really, come on, it’s not a test of manhood.” The vial did not break, despite Trump trying hard.”Whoa,” Weeks exclaimed. The participants began applauding and Trump looked up and smiled in each direction. A television display showed that he exerted about 10 times as much force on the Valor Glass than he did on the conventional glass.
“The important thing is, that Valor Glass vial is still intact and protecting the vial ingredients inside,” Weeks said. He informed the US president that the 1,000 pounds of pressure he exerted was nearly equal to a punch from a professional boxer. “People never knew that about me,” Trump joked. “Some of us knew,” Reed Cordish, Assistant to the President for Intra-governmental and Technology Initiatives, quipped in response.