Pharmacy at centre of polo pony deaths has licence revoked

  • The pharmacy that caused the deaths of 21 polo ponies in Florida last year has had its permit revoked in Indiana.

    On 19 April 2009, 21 Lechuza Caracas team ponies died beside the field at the US Open after being given a pre-match vitamin compound.

    Franck’s Pharmacy in Ocala, Florida later claimed responsibility for improperly mixing that compound — which contained toxic doses of selenium.

    While Indiana is in the north of the country, far away from Florida, state regulators have temporarily suspended the laboratory’s licence for the next 90 days, pending the outcome of an investigation into the deaths.

    Connections of the 21 polo ponies that died have filed a lawsuit against Franck’s Pharmacy, alleging it was solely responsible for improperly mixing the compound that lead to the fatal selenium overdose.

    The Pharmacy has held a licence to trade in Indiana since 2001. American newspapers have reported that it had received a warning from the Food and Drugs Administration in 2005, and another complaint was apparently filed in December 2009.

    Franck’s Compounding Lab has issued a statement on the matter yesterday.

    It reads: “We had no advance notice of the hearing. We plan to respond and challenge the suspension so we can continue providing our patients in Indiana with the medications their doctors and veterinarians are prescribing for them.”

    Selenium is a trace mineral often included in horse feed and supplements in small quantities. While it is essential for normal cell function and health of animals, is can be fatal in large doses.

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