Merck unsure of cyberattack impact

Article by Neil Clark

MERCK & Co has said that it still does not yet know the full impact of the NotPetya cyberattack, and that its impact is likely to affect profits and incur delays with some product supply orders.

In its quarterly report, the pharmaceutical company announced that it is still in the process of minimising the effects of June’s attack, which disrupted its worldwide manufacturing, research and sales operations. 

The NotPetya ransomware attack also disrupted Maersk, FedEx and Mondelez

It expects difficulties in fulfilling some product orders, although supplies of key products such as cancer drug Keytruda, diabetes drug Januvia and hepatitis C drug Zepatier should be maintained.

Merck’s statement, released on Friday, said: “While the company does not yet know the magnitude of the impact of the disruption, which remains ongoing in certain operations, it continues to work to minimise the effects.

“The company is in the process of restoring its active pharmaceutical ingredient operations but is not yet producing bulk product.”

Pharmaceutical packaging and formulation operations are mostly back up and running, while external manufacturing was not impacted.

In a conference call, Merck’s chief executive Ken Frazier said: “Full recovery from the cyberattack will take some time, but we are making steady progress.”

When asked whether the earnings guidance price forecast within the quarterly report would have been higher were it not for the cyberattack, CFO Rob Davis replied “Yes.”

The NotPetya ransomware attack hit Ukranian businesses and government agencies in June 2017, before spreading internationally. It is capable of encrypting hard drives and stopping machines from running, which has caused massive disruptions to industrial computer networks, as damaged drives must be individually replaced.

Article by Neil Clark

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.