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Layoffs At Firm Tied To Mass. Pharmacy In Meningitis Outbreak

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A Massachusetts company with the same founders as a pharmacy tied to a deadly meningitis outbreak says it’s laying off nearly all its employees amid its prolonged closure for inspection.

Ameridose employees were notified of the layoffs Thursday.

A company spokesman says the notice affects 650 employees at Ameridose and 140 employees at its marketing and support arm. He says a small number will be retained amid an ongoing product recall. Ameridose LLC says it hopes the layoffs will be temporary.

Ameridose released the following statement Thursday:

“We continue to work diligently with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health during their inspection of Ameridose. We anticipate receiving recommendations from these agencies soon, and responsibly implementing them to meet their concerns. Our goal is to resume operations at Ameridose as soon as possible, and put these dedicated employees who have been affected by this shutdown back to work.”

The Westborough company paid its employees since it voluntarily closed for inspection Oct. 10 because of problems at the New England Compounding Center pharmacy, a sister company. The meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid made by the NECC, in Framingham.

Exclusive video in the middle of the scandal shows Ameridose employees attending a company gathering at a bowling alley. They told WBZ-TV at that time they had no idea what was going on with their jobs.

The meningitis outbreak has spread to 19 states and sickened more than 400 people, 31 of whom have died.

Regulators last week asked Ameridose to remain closed until Nov. 19.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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