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Layoffs, Furloughs At Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Hammer falls on hundreds at crony capitalist drug manufacturer …

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South Carolina-based crony capitalist drug manufacturer Nephron Pharmaceuticals – which is the focus of a major, ongoing investigation by inspectors with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – is laying off and furloughing hundreds of workers, multiple sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to this news outlet.

“As a result of business need, management has made the difficult decision to furlough a number of employees as a temporary cost-saving measure,” a letter obtained by this news outlet noted. “The furlough will be unpaid, you will not perform any work during the furlough.”

Nephron began delivering these letters to employees and providing them with notification of the layoffs/ furloughs on Thursday afternoon (February 16, 2023) at around 4:00 p.m. EST, according to company sources.

More employees are scheduled to receive letters and notifications on Friday, these sources said.

Hundreds of employees will reportedly be impacted by the reduction in force – although a precise number was not given. This news outlet is reaching out to our sources at the company in the hopes of obtaining additional information – and will update our audience as soon as we know more.

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While multiple employees said the company informed them they were being “let go” permanently, the letter from chief human resources officer Nola Grant did not reference layoffs. Instead, it claimed these “temporary furloughs” were expected to last until mid-May.

“While we do not know for certain, we anticipate the furlough will last approximately 90 days,” the letter continued.

Grant said Nephron “will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will do our best to provide information to you as we make decisions that may affect you.”

“We recognize and acknowledge that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and Nephron values each and every one of you,” the letter noted.

(Click to View)

Nephron Pharmaceuticals furlough letter (Provided)

One company whistleblower told us the “furlough” language was a ruse by the company.

“They called it a layoff and are going to allow them to get unemployment,” the whistleblower said.

That is accurate. Grant’s letter encouraged recipients to contact the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) – which administers state and federal unemployment services – to determine whether they may be “eligible for unemployment benefits under these circumstances.”

As I noted last month, Nephron has found itself on the receiving end of “serious scrutiny from multiple federal agencies in recent years” – including a massive FDA probe over sterility concerns at its West Columbia manufacturing facility.

As the FDA probe continues, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced a recall of “all medicines made by Nephron Pharmaceuticals” due to a “fear of contaminated drugs.”

Nephron is no stranger to trouble with the feds. In September of 2020, the company was accused of running afoul of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after falsely advertising its products as having been made in America.

Nephron has claimed its drugs are “proudly made in the USA,” but its chief executive officer Lou Kennedy acknowledged on a video conference call that she bought “most all of my active pharmaceutical ingredients from Europe and other countries.”

(Click to View)

Nephron leaders Lou Kennedy and Bill Kennedy with former S.C. governor Nikki Haley (S.C. Governor)

Despite its troubles, Nephron has been a darling of South Carolina crony capitalists like Nikki Haley – and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media. Just two months ago, current Palmetto State governor Henry McMaster, lieutenant governor Pamela Evette and commerce secretary Harry Lightsey attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at Nephron for its new line of medical gloves.

Kennedy is a longtime political ally of Haley’s – and she and her husband are major donors to the former governor’s political campaigns.

In addition to the tens of millions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded handouts Nephron has received over the years, the company and its executives are leaders of the crony capitalist cabal presiding over “economic development” in South Carolina. Kennedy is a former president and board member of the über-liberal S.C. Chamber of Commerce – the Palmetto State’s staunchest defender of market-distorting taxpayer-funded subsidies and anti-competitive tax hikes. Nephron’s senior vice-president Rob Godfrey – a former Haley advisor – currently serves on the chamber board.

Nephron’s layoffs and furloughs come at a difficult time for the Palmetto State’s employment economy, which saw a key jobs indicator hit a new record low in December.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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6 comments

Tom Jones February 17, 2023 at 8:45 am

I’m surprised ol Henry hasn’t started claiming he will fight to stop the overreach of the FDA. AG Wilson will soon file suit to stop FDA actions against the company. Come on, what’s the issue if medications produced by Nephron are a little ….. dirty.

I’m standing by for attorneys to crawl all over Nephron.

Reply
Red Uprising February 17, 2023 at 9:43 am

Privatize the gains, socialize the losses. You will pay for their mistakes.

Ain’t capitalism grand?

Reply
WBR February 17, 2023 at 1:30 pm

Ha ha ha, LWK running the company into the ground like we all knew she would. Hey Lou, back to painting houses and babysitting?

Reply
jbl1a February 17, 2023 at 8:34 pm

Another Lexington county success story, smh

Reply
the little guy June 9, 2023 at 7:17 am

curious if nephron will still get lexington county tax breaks now that they have cut all the “promised” jobs???

fits, please FOIA the tax break FILOT documents from the county and let us know

Reply
Racefan June 19, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Probably will since she hired the top 2 people from the county in 2021 (Joe Mergo and Chris Folson) Joe uses his family connections to Nikki Setzler (father in law) to grease the wheels. I am curious to see how things will shake out if Gary Rozier wins the Lex Co sheriff election. He was Lou’s Security Director and Pilot before leaving abruptly in 2022. He knows a lot of dirt on her and the corp.

Reply

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