A federal grand jury in Boston has begun investigating the Framingham compounding pharmacy that made the tainted steroid injections blamed for at least three dozen deaths in seven states, according to several people familiar with the matter, including one who has been called to testify.
The grand jury has begun issuing subpoenas to people who worked at New England Compounding Center and at least one related company, Medical Sales Management of Framingham, which handled sales and administrative support for the pharmacy, the people said. The grand jury is expected to hear from at least some witnesses in federal court in Boston next week.
The development is the latest sign that federal prosecutors are pursuing potential criminal charges against the companies or people deemed responsible for the outbreak. Criminal investigators from the Food and Drug Administration searched New England Compounding’s offices in October, carting away boxes of documents and other evidence.
“A grand jury has to be convened for a good reason, and usually that means the prosecution is investigating possible crimes or wrongdoing,” said Brad Bailey, a prominent criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor. “Presumably, the government has some targets in mind.”
But Bailey, a lawyer at the Boston law firm Denner Pellegrino, cautioned that the investigation is probably in the early stages of gathering information and evidence, so it may be some time before any indictments are issued, if at all.
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