Mylan Pharmaceuticals keeps growing, giving back to WV - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Mylan Pharmaceuticals keeps growing, giving back to WV

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MORGANTOWN, WV -

For a driver cruising down Chestnut Ridge Road in Morgantown, the view of Mylan Pharmaceuticals' campus gives no sense of the immensity of the operation. 

Many residents probably aren't aware that it's the largest manufacturing facility of one of the top drugmakers in the world.

Similarly, numbers such as "about 3,000 employed in Morgantown" give no sense of the company's reach into the state's economy. 

But it's a place to start.

A subsidiary of Canonsburg, Pa.-based Mylan Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals employs about 1,200 bargaining-unit employees and more than 600 management staff at its unassuming Chestnut Ridge road plant. Workers are active around the clock in five shifts, and they'll make more than 20 billion — yes, that's with a "b" — doses this year. 

The company also maintains a research and development facility on Collins Ferry Road in Morgantown.

The total of 3,000 jobs is a significant part of Monongalia County's private non-farm employment of about 40,000.

"They're obviously a major presence here in the Morgantown area that provides quality jobs for a lot of people," said Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ken Busz.

Monongalia County frequently has the lowest unemployment of any county in West Virginia; that was true again in March, at 4.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And the county's average per capita income and median household income always top the state average, thanks in part to Mylan. 

"They play a very big role in all levels of the economy here," Busz said. "It stretches from retail to restaurants, obviously real estate, cars — it's huge. They've really permeated our market in a very good way."

But here's where the magnitude of Mylan's employment starts to hit home: It was the state's sixth-largest private employer in 2011, according to WorkForce West Virginia, having moved ahead of highly visible employers American Electric Power and Lowe's Home Centers since 2010.

"Over the years, Mylan has created a lot of income for West Virginia families through the jobs it provides," said West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts. "And they have employed many of the state's most accomplished and most successful citizens, the most visible of whom is (current CEO and West Virginia native) Heather Bresch."

Mylan also buys a lot of goods and services in West Virginia with a substantial ripple effect, he said, and it has created wealth for stockholders, of whom many live in the state. Helpful to the economy in another way, it draws positive national and international media attention to the state.

But no review of Mylan's impact on the state's economic health would be complete without a look at the considerable charitable giving that has followed from its success.

Let's start small.

"Of course there are a number of employees of the company that live and work in the area that are generous to West Virginia University, and I would think they're active in United Way and other not-for-profits in the area as well," said WVU Foundation President and CEO R. Wayne King. "I suspect their impact on the quality of life in the community is very significant." 

Then there's the generosity of Mylan Inc. and the Mylan Charitable Foundation themselves — support totaling $1.25 million for the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston and the state Division of Culture and History alone in 2010. 

Roberts said this demonstrates the company's strong loyalty to the state where it got its start in 1961.

WVU has been a big recipient of that, too.

The largest gift, from Mylan Inc. directly, endowed a Mylan Chair of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the School of Pharmacy, according to King — promoting scholarship in a land-grant institution, the mission of which is, in part, to nurture the state's economic development. 

Mylan plans to double its worldwide manufacturing capacity over the coming five years. It is not yet clear whether that will bring further growth in Morgantown, but the company did say it plans to increase U.S. manufacturing from 26 billion to 28 billion doses over that period. 

Roberts summed up Mylan's wide-ranging contributions to the state's economy.

"As we look for ways to improve the standard of living for people in West Virginia, Mylan is an important player in increasing incomes, providing contributions to education, and really being the best example of a corporate citizen," he said.

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