Sports Outside the Beltway

Pharmacy admits it incorrectly mixed supplement linked to deaths of 21 horses

The death of 21 polo ponies last weekend has been big news here in Palm Beach County. Why it happened is slowly coming forth. From the Palm Beach Post-

A top official of an Ocala-based pharmacy today admitted that it incorrectly mixed a medication that was given to 21 horses that mysteriously collapsed and died last weekend.

Jennifer Beckett, chief operations officer for Franck’s Pharmacy, said an internal investigation revealed that the strength of an ingredient in the medication was flawed. In a written statement, she did not name the medication or the ingredient involved.

“We will cooperate fully with the authorities as they continue their investigations,” she wrote. “Because of the ongoing investigations, we cannot discuss further details about this matter at this time.”

This pharmacy is in for a world of trouble. Not just for potential liability in the deaths of these animals.

In a letter to polo team veterinarian Dr. James Belden, an attorney representing the insurer of a company owned by Victor Vargas, says its investigation revealed that a generic compounded version of Biodyl was administered to 12 ponies prior to their deaths before a match at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sunday. It is unclear why the letter references only 12; 21 horses are believed to have received the supplement.

Attorney William Gericke wrote that Belden ordered the compound from Franck’s Pharmacy in Ocala.

“Since you ordered the Biodyl from Franck’s Pharmacy that was administered to the horses, I believe there may be a possibility that my client may look to you as a party who has some responsibility for the loss,” Gericke wrote.

Biodyl, a vitamin supplement that is banned in the United States, emerged as a possible culprit in the deaths when Lechuza Caracas’ team captain polo told an Argentine newspaper it was administered to the horses.

But the Lechuza Caracas team issued a statement today clarifying that Biodyl wasn’t used in the horses, but rather a generic version created by Franck’s Pharmacy.

The pharmacy was mixing drug not allowed in this country. Horse owners were administering it to the animals. Federal prosecutors are almost certain to get involved with this. The pharmacy and horse owners were dealing in a drug that is illegal in the United States and with drug laws like they are, I can’t see how some people won’t up doing serious jail time if the story reported above is true.

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