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Framingham officials grow weary of New England Compounding Center scandal

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 18, 2012 03:35 PM

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Framingham officials said this week that they do not believe the New England Compounding Center scandal will taint the town's economic reputation.

"We have very solid quality companies and corporate entities, including world-class pharmaceutical companies like Genzyme, so we’re proud of that," said Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin.

To date, 20 people have died and over 250 have gotten sick from a fungal meningitis outbreak authorities believe is linked to an injectable steroid produced at the compounding center, according to federal officials.

Framingham was ranked 38th best place to live in America this summer by Money Magazine for several reasons, including a low unemployment rate. Massachusetts Bay Community College is also planning to build a permanent campus in downtown Framingham, citing the town's diverse population and economic vitality.

Halpin said he also doesn't worry about attracting new businesses to the town.

"It’s a great town to do business in with a great skilled workforce," he said. "That level of skill poses a lot of opportunity for companies looking for those skills."

However, when it comes to controlling the New England Compounding Center, the town's hands are tied. Since the compounding center is regulated by the state, Halpin said the town has no role in overseeing its operations.

"We’ve been following it with a great deal of interest and concern, but we have no role in any enforcement action," he said. "We just hope it gets resolved soon."

The compounding company was founded in 1998 and employs about 60 people, according to the Associated Press.

A spokesman for the company did not return calls or emails.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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