She said officials yanked every vial of controlled medications aboard the nine advanced life support ambulances that carried them on Sept. 7, 2011 — a day after the suspected tampering was discovered.
Ferrer said Boston health officials immediately notified the Boston Police Department, state public health officials, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Those are the protocols,” Ferrer said. “As soon as we determined there was a problem we did what we could do to ensure the investigations that needed to happen were happening.”
The drug samples were sent to the same state drug analysis lab that was closed in August amid revelations that chemist Annie Dookhan allegedly altered drug samples, faked drug tests, forged colleagues’ signatures on analysis reports, and lied about having a master’s degree. She was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of falsifying her academic records. Investigators say that Dookhan has jeopardized the reliability of drug evidence used in 34,000 cases.
The Boston Police Department declined to comment on whether there are similar concerns over the qaulity of testing on the Boston EMS samples.
Ferrer said this is the first incident of suspected drug tampering in Boston EMS’s 135-year history, and she worried that the case could undermine trust in the department’s 350 paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
“We want to assure the public that this is a service people can rely on that provides life-saving services by a well-trained and skilled work force,” Ferrer said.
She said members of the public who have questions about Boston EMS services should contact the central office at 617-343-2367.