According to the inspection report from the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), the first event involved a thermostat malfunction that killed two primates and Covance initiated corrective measures to install override switches in all animal rooms.
But just a month later, an “improperly wired thermostat override switch caused a room to overheat resulting in the deaths of 11 animals,” the inspector’s report says.
“At this point we have received the complaint and are still determining our next steps,” USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinoza told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “We may decide to open an investigation, which may result in an Official Letter of Warning...Or we may issue a Stipulation Fine, this is a monetary penalty. We could also send the investigation to the Administrative Law Judges who would then issue a Penalty Fine (monetary) and can suspend or revoke a license.”
Covance did not respond to a request for comment. The animal deaths come a little more than a month since LabCorp announced plans to acquire Covance, which analysts and investors seem to favor.
PETA and other animal rights groups have previously condemned Covance’s practices at other labs, including one in Virginia.
According to the Associated Press, Michael Budkie, executive director of Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now, has filed a complaint with USDA seeking a fine of more than $100,000 against Covance.