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Actavis meds made in Lincoln aid Haiti

Actavis, a pharmaceutical company with a plant in Lincolnton, continues to help the earthquake victims in Haiti.

The company has donated more than $700,000 worth of pain relievers, anti-bacterial drugs and other medications to Americares and Operation Smile, two medical relief organizations.

Most of the medications, more than 125,000 units, were manufactured in the Lincolnton plant. It took the company about two weeks to get the medications to Haiti.

The idea for a product donation came from its employees within days of the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed people and left others homeless. A second earthquake hit eight days later.

“Naturally, after the first earthquake, everyone was asking, ‘How can we help?’ and of course there was talk about fundraising,” said Tom Miltier, director of human resources at the Lincolnton plant.

“Then someone said that, since there is such a need for medical supplies, it just makes sense to send product. Plus, some employees said it helps drive home the feeling that they are making a difference.”

Actavis Chief Executive Officer Doug Boothe said he immediately approved the donation request.

“This is the kind of initiative and creative problem solving by our employees that makes me so proud to lead this company,” he said. “If there is a way to help, our people will find it.”

Greg Sherwood, managing director of semi-solids and liquids at the Lincolnton plant, said that Actavis has made product donations periodically on a much smaller scale.

“We do have a long history here of helping out various charitable campaigns, but nothing that matched this scale,” he said. “This was a tremendous effort.”

The Lincolnton plant’s 304 employees were recently presented with an Orange Way Award, which recognizes individuals and teams for excellence surrounding the company’s core values.

Lincolnton employees earned the honor primarily for their efforts to help Haiti victims.

“Although there were a handful that voiced the (product) recommendation, we saw it as a collective team effort so we presented the award to the entire workforce,” Sherwood said.

Actavis previously donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross. Employees can are also encouraged to contribute to relief efforts financially or through the “Employee Volunteer Day” program, which gives a paid day off to use for volunteer efforts with a charitable organization.

Actavis, which has operations in 40 different countries, has donated more than $2 million in both cash and product donations to various locations around the world.

“I think that is indicative of the type of company it is, where there is encouragement and employees feel free to have an idea and not be afraid to bring it forward,” said Gerard Farrell, principal of Public Strategies for Actavis.