Drugmaker Teva says it's prepared in case of attack on Israel

Without actually saying "Iran," Teva Pharmaceuticals chief executive officer Shlomo Yanai said Wednesday that the Israel-based company was prepared as best as possible to deal with potential manufacturing disruptions if Israel is attacked by Iran or its allies.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks over Iran's nuclear program and whether Israel might launch a military strike to disable the program before Iran can make a weapon. The assumption is that Iran and its allies would attack Israel in retaliation.

During Wednesday morning's conference call to discuss 2011 earnings, Yanai was asked by an investment analyst about the percentage of Teva's manufacturing operation in Israel and Yanai responded by saying he assumed the question related to "contingencies or emergency or regional issues."

It was.

Yanai then said that 30 percent of Teva's manufacturing was done in Israel.

"Unfortunately, as you all know, we have been at this for many, many years," said Yanai, who spent most of his professional career in the Israel Defense Force, and is leaving the company this spring, perhaps to start at political career in Israel.

Yanai said the company has contingency plans and assessed the corporate risk of disruption as "very minute, around 1 to 2 percent."

Yanai did not offer a risk assessment for the nation as a whole.

"For major products in our pipeline," Yanai said, "we have redundancies. For example, with Copaxone [the company's best-selling drug], we have three different sites in three different countries. All are qualified for use immediately and to supply 100 percent of demand, with six months of inventory to back up the manufacturing facilities."

The Associated Press reported that Iran claimed Wednesday that it has taken two major steps toward mastering the production of nuclear fuel, a defiant move in response to increasingly tough Western sanctions.

AP said the official Iranian news agency (IRNA) reported that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad oversaw the insertion of the first Iranian domestically-made fuel rod into a research reactor in northern Tehran. Separately, the semiofficial Fars agency reported that a "new generation of Iranian centrifuges" had been installed and had gone into operation at the country's main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in central Iran.

Teva's Americas headquarters is in North Wales and it is building a facility in Northeast Philadelphia.