UMass: No investigation into former chemist

October 12, 2012
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Several media outlets have reported that Annie Dookhan, the chemist at the heart of the state drug lab scandal, previously worked under another name at a University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School lab. But UMass Medical said it will not investigate.

Dookhan mishandled thousands of drug samples at the state drug lab, potentially tainting more than 1,100 convictions. As a result, Dookhan is facing several criminal charges.

UMass spokesperson Mark Shelton said MassBiologics, a UMass lab located at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute at 305 South St., employed a women named Annie Khan from 2001 to 2003. But, he said, despite the media reports, the school has no way of knowing if she is the same person as Annie Dookhan. MassBiologics manufactures vaccines, according to Shelton.

Asked if the school should investigate, especially in light of the serious allegations against Dookhan, Shelton replied, “We are not an investigatory or law enforcement agency.”

Shelton said Khan worked at the lab more than a decade ago, did her work and left voluntarily. He said there nothing to indicate at the time that there was anything improper about her work.

Shelton said Khan’s job was to test raw materials that came to the lab. He gave an example that if salt was delivered to the lab, Khan would test a sample to make sure it was in fact salt.

Shelton said the Food and Drug Administration inspects and licenses all the work at the lab and MassBiologics does its due diligence in ensuring the manufacturing process is of the highest integrity.

“There has not been a problem with any of the vaccines or biologics we have produced,” he said.

UMass manages the entire facility at the Hinton Institute, which included the state drug lab before it was closed by the State Police.