Gov. Deval Patrick has asked state Inspector General Glenn Cunha to take over the review of the former state drug lab at the center of a testing scandal.
Patrick said Cunha has the independence and expertise to conduct the broader review of the Hinton lab.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, who will continue to handle a criminal probe into the mishandling of drug tests at the lab, requested that Patrick appoint an independent investigator to determine whether the failures at the lab go beyond former chemist Annie Dookhan and her immediate supervisor.
Legal groups including the Massachusetts Bar Association were the first to ask for the independent probe.
Martin Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association, applauded the appointment.
"We were asking for someone to come in not only independent, but someone with the appropriate ability to look at it, that has some investigatory tools, such as subpoena power, and the inspector general has that," Healy said.
Dookhan has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice. Officials say she tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving about 9,000 individuals over a nine-year period.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom
This program aired on November 5, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.