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Oversight Issues Found At JP Lab Building

A Boston Herald report details the problems at the Jamaica Plain-based drug lab building site at which the state scandal was born.

Lack of communication between management and workers, minimal quality assurance training and a poor employee review system all sound like issues that led to the Hinton Drug Lab crisis, which the state is now grappling with. But these are also issues with 17 other laboratories in the same building.

An Association of Public Health Laboratories report made 18 recommendations for the labs at the site of the now shut down lab where chemist Annie Dookhan botched the testing of drug evidence in an undetermined amount of state cases, according to the Boston Herald

The report said the site maintains good lab practice but top-heavy management, poor communication between upper management and lower level employees and an inconsistent employee review system, according to the Herald.

The labs in question perform testing for mosquito-borne illnesses, rabies and other infections diseases.

The state received the report Dec. 6, and Interim Director for the Hinton facility Larry Madoff told the Herald that the labs have taken steps to make good on the recommendations.

Testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby in November revealed a culture of poor oversight at the lab where Dookhan worked, and that the particular lab was never properly accredited.

Emails obtained by the Boston Globe earlier this month revealed that Dookhan viewed herself as part of the prosecutorial team when her role was to impartially test evidence for illegal drug content.

Dookhan faces 27 charges throughout several counties in Massachusetts. She pleaded not guilty Dec. 20 to 15 of those charges, including four counts of obstruction of justice, eight counts of tampering with evidence and one count of falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university in Suffolk Superior Court. 

For more information on the state drug lab crisis, check out our topic page.

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