Large Bedford Employer Shutting Down

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BEDFORD, Ohio -- Hundreds of people will be out of a job after a major employer announced it is shutting down permanently by the end of the year.

Ben Venue Laboratories is the largest employer in Bedford with 1,100 employees. It has been the leading manufacturer of chemotherapy drugs and other drugs for decades.

"I love this job," said Joanna Francis, who has worked at the facility for eleven years.

She says her co-workers are all devastated by the news.

"I feel pain, I'm upset and people are crying," she added.

Residents say Ben Venue is a major part of Bedford. Most people here know someone who works here.

"I've talked to a few of them. They're pretty bummed out, you know. So, I feel bad for them because some of them have families, kids to support, a mortgage, bills to pay and now they're finding out they don't have a job," said a man who lives on a street across from the plant.

In 2011, the drug company voluntarily shut down after complaints to the FDA about the quality of some of their products. They resumed some of their production in January of this year.

But according to a news release, despite $350 million invested to upgrade some of their aging facilities, the company still expects operating losses of $700 million over the next five years.

As part of the statement, officials say, "Ben Venue understands the importance of the drugs the company producers and will work to help ensure that these critical medicines continue to reach the patients who need them."

Bedford Mayor Dan Pocek says the news is devastating to the city and the entire region. He says the company has been a good corporate citizen over the years and hopes to meet with company officials soon as the city decides what to do next.

"Anytime you have people losing their jobs, that's not a good thing, especially in mass like that. That's definitely not a good thing," said Bedford resident Alexander Gray.

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