Skip to comments.Bad Drug Mix Killed Polo Horses, Lab Says
Posted on 04/23/2009 11:28:02 AM PDT by Abathar
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- An official at a Florida pharmacy said Thursday the business incorrectly prepared a supplement given to 21 polo horses that died over the weekend while preparing to play in a championship match.
Jennifer Beckett of Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala, Fla., told The Associated Press in a statement that the business conducted an internal investigation that found "the strength of an ingredient in the medication was incorrect." The statement did not say what the ingredient was.
Beckett, who's the pharmacy's chief operating officer, said the pharmacy is cooperating with an investigation by state authorities and the Food and Drug Administration.
The horses from the Venezuelan-owned Lechuza polo team began crumpling to the ground shortly before Sunday's U.S. Open match was supposed to begin, shocking a crowd of well-heeled spectators at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.
"On an order from a veterinarian, Franck's Pharmacy prepared medication that was used to treat the 21 horses on the Lechuza Polo team," Beckett said. "As soon as we learned of the tragic incident, we conducted an internal investigation."
(Excerpt) Read more at theindychannel.com ...
Hope they have good insurance.
What a waste of such beautiful animals. What a shame.
I think we’re talking about an ex-pharmacy now.
Aside from that, why were they having a human pharmacy compound veterinary medicines? Is this standard practice?
That ought to account for all the long faces.
So sad all around for these horses.
Many compounding pharmacies work with human docs and vets.
From Franck's website:
Since 1983, Franck's Compounding Lab has been the nation's premier compounding pharmacy providing physicians and veterinarians with medications in customized dosage forms for their patients. The stringent quality control and knowledge of Franck's Compounding Lab works in conjunction with the prescribing physician to ensure the best possible outcome for the client. From pediatric cases to dental pain, bio-identical hormone replacement to infusion therapy, or treatment of companion animals to the care of a mare during breeding season, Franck's Compounding Lab has the solution that's right for you. Our goal is to provide quality products and expedient customer service to better serve you.
The Compounding Pharmacy offers customized formulations of discontinued medications, unique dosage forms, flavorings and combination formulas for both the physician treating humans and the veterinarian treating horses, small animals and exotics.
Hey Hair, just passin’ through.
Did you see this? Such a shame.
An a good thing too. I certainly would not be comfortable using that pharmacy for myself or my pets. It is likely, knowing human nature and regulatory ineptness, that many other pharmacies are equally lax.
Tragic set of circumstances.
So how are things in Indiana there Abathar?
I bet spring is in full bloowm and everything is beautiful?
OK, thanks. I just assumed that because of the difference in the dosages (not to mention the permitted drugs), pharmacies worked either with one or the other.
I see that Franck’s seems to do a lot of business in veterinary meds. I notice that the compound was apparently a French invention that actually hasn’t been approved for use here; I wonder if the prescription contained an error. Horses are very sensitive to minerals (well, so are people), so it’s easy to see that an overdose of something in this compound could have killed them. Very sad all around, in any case.
Virtually all compounding pharmacies prepare medications for both humans and animals. A pharmacy is a pharmacy, and many medications prescribed for animals are only specifically manufactured/licensed for human use. Vets can prescribe basically any drug for an animal that is licensed for either human or animal use. I’m familiar with Franck’s and it’s a highly regarded compounding pharmacy in the veterinary community. But depending on the details of how this went down, it might indeed be an ex-pharmacy. On the other hand, it may be that the fault lay entirely with a single pharmacist who did the actual preparation, and then the outcome would more likely be a license loss or suspension for that pharmacist (along with future unemployability even if the license was eventually restored), and higher insurance rates for Franck’s in the future.
Whatever it was, they must have put in a huge overdose.
Hi Joe, things are nice here, finally going to see some warm weather again. Leaves and flowers are finally coming out, my biggest problem is dealing with a pack (herd, flock, murder ?) of beaver that are giving me major grief after invading my lake.
Anyone want to try fried beaver tail when I finally get him in my scope?
Most likely the selenium was the problem, assuming this preparation actually was a clone of Biodyl. There are only 4 active ingredients in Biodyl, and selenium would be the easist to overdose. Another possibility is the potassium, but it’s hard to imagine a pharmacist making THAT big a mistake with potassium, which is very well known to kill in excessive doses (that’s why it’s used for purposeful lethal injections). The amount of potassium it would take to kill a horse should be large enough to immediately red-flag even a half-asleep pharmacist that “Wait a second, that can’t be right.”
I don’t think a prescription error was the problem, since the pharmacy’s statement seems to be taking responsibility for the error. However, I’ve been communicating with a cyberacquaintance who works for a compounding pharmacy, who says he has seen scripts from vets for horse supplements in which the selenium amount was given in grams when it should have been milligrams — and he said in at least a couple of cases, when the pharmacist called the vet to point out the error, the vet kept insisting the grams amount was correct. If a vet could be so confused about selenium dosage to be insisting that a 1000 times overdose was correct, even when he’s got a pharmacist explaining to him that it’s not, it’s quite conceivable that a busy pharmacist who had rarely if ever prepared this particular product, could accidentally substitute grams for milligrams, even when the prescription was written clearly and correctly.
I'm betting that the ingredient was exactly 21 times stronger than intended.
thanks for the laugh.
Neighbor here stocked his pond with expensive koi.
Otters invaded it and in 24 hours took out about a hundred fish and then sat there laughing at him rolling in the grass like a bunch of kids.
I told Earnie I put all the gators that come around my yard in his pond to help keep out the otters and he told me the gators eat them too.
Is a compound pharmacy a pharmacy that actually mixes or blends different medications into your prescription?
A compounding pharmacy actually mixes the prescription.
That’s very interesting information. When I first read this, I thought perhaps the problem was potassium, simply because of the way the horses were acting, but you’re right, most pharmacists would be aware of that.
Selenium seems to be less common in horse supplements, although while my horse was recovering from an injury, I was giving him a supplement that contained it - I remember because I didn’t know what it was until I looked it up. It’s certainly possible that an error just slipped by. I wonder where the original prescription came from.
Ocala is a small place and the horse industry there is still very important and probably a mainstay of this pharmacy’s business. This was an awful thing but I hope it doesn’t completely destroy this company, which seems to have a long-standing good reputation there.
Hey, they were just horses, but they were somebody's friend...
This company has a long-standing good reputation nationally. It’s unlikely this will put them out of business, but at least one pharmacist will presumably be out of a job, and likely facing license suspension, and the pharmacy’s insurance premiums are likely to shot through the roof.
There may be mitigating cirumstances, however. Presumably the vet who provided the prescription was a high-end equine vet, and IF he wrote it wrong, and IF the pharmacy then called to tell him it looked wrong, and IF he then stuck to his guns and insisted it was right (as my cyberacquaintance says he’s known some vets to do with a selenium script they’ve written at 1000 times the correct dose) and intimidated a pharmacist into going ahead with it, the pharmacy STILL should have refused or at least insisted on including a labelled warning to alert the user to the pharmacist’s concerns about it — but it would be mitigating, and shift a good portion of the blame away from the pharmacy/pharmacist. But from the sound of the pharmacy’s press release, I think it’s more likely just a pharmacist’s screw up, probably in a situation where a big-shot equine vet, calling on behalf of an even bigger-shot client, demanded the prescription be filled on very short notice, and in the rush a big mistake was made.
Just speculating, though. I have no actual knowledge of what went down here. I do know that Franck’s is normally very conscientious, even when dealing with small-ticket items for random cat and dog owners.
LOL! Can’t win for nothing can he?
My biggest complaint with beaver other than damming up the spillway every night is I planted exactly 100 weeping willows on the far side of the lake in the marshy area to enhance the view of an ugly swamp across the lake.
It now looks like some North Vietnamese pungi stick death trap over there.
Thank you very much, I wonder how common they are? I don’t think I have ever been in one, at least without realizing it.
When I had a diabetic cat, I shot her up with human insulin from the local pharmacy. The cat didn't have her own diabetic card, so they called the vet to verify, but after that it was no problem - needles or insulin.