This is one of the more revolting stories I’ve seen in a long time.
In spite of my connections to endurance sports, I’m not a fan of the combined horse racing-polo scene (yes, I realize these are two different forms of exploitation, and don’t get me started on dog racing), and this is as unfathomable as it is infuriating.
The head of a Tallahassee-based pharmacy admitted Thursday that it incorrectly mixed a medication that was given to 21 horses that mysteriously collapsed and died before a polo match over the weekend.
Jennifer Beckett, chief operations officer for Franck’s Pharmacy, said an internal investigation revealed 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.”
The news came as the politically-connected Venezuelan multimillionaire who owns the 21 horses indicated he suspects his team’s own veterinarian may have played a role in the deaths of some of the polo ponies, according to a letter from a Philadelphia lawyer.
The compound in question is a substitute for Biodyl, a vitamin supplement that is banned in the U.S. and contains vitamin B, selenium, potassium and magnesium–at least in theory. I am wondering if the horses, all of which perished within four hours of receiving the medication, died of cardiac arrest from the potassium. But magnesium poisoning is nothing to mess with either, and who knows what was actually in this drug.
I wouldn’t go purchasing stock in Franck’s Pharmacy of Ocala and Tallahassee, Florida anytime soon. It’s not clear from the article whether the team vet was in fact complicit in any way; he can’t necessarily be held accountable (although legally he might be ) for the pharmacy frigging up the formulation.
Bizarre, and very sad.