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Genzyme Halts Drug Production At Allston Plant

This article is more than 10 years old.

The biotech firm Genzyme has stopped drug production at its Allston plant at least through July because a virus has contaminated the facility.

Genzyme said the virus has not been shown to cause human infection. But because the company will halt bulk drug production while it sanitizes the plant, there will be a shortage of treatments for the rare genetic disorders Gaucher disease and Fabry disease, which are enzyme deficiencies.

Genzyme Senior Vice President Geoff McDonough said the company plans to release some of its stockpiles of the drugs, but that won't be enough to go around. "There's no question that patients will be required to miss infusions," he said.

McDonough said patients can safely miss a few infusions. Genetic disease specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital said that's typically true, but the impact of missed infusions can vary from patient to patient.

Genzyme said the shortages will begin in late summer and could last one to two months.

This program aired on June 17, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Sacha Pfeiffer Twitter Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.

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