Friday, April 24, 2009

Compounded Drug Responsible for the 21 Horse Deaths

A Florida pharmacy announced that an ingredient in a drug which they compounded was responsible for the deaths of the 21 polo horses from a Venezuelan polo team that died Sunday at the U.S. Open Polo Tournament in Wellington, Florida.

Fourteen of the horses died while on the field prior to the scheduled match while another seven horses died while in transit to an equine hospital for treatment.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and various other regulatory agencies are performing necropsies and blood tests on the animals. The agencies expect to announce their findings shortly.

Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala revealed that a lawyer it hired to investigate the case concluded one ingredient was off during the mixing process.

"The strength of an ingredient in the medication was incorrect," said Jennifer Beckett, of Franck's Pharmacy. "We will cooperate fully with the authorities as they continue their investigation." She declined to answer questions but offered condolences to the team: "We share their grief and sadness."

The pharmacy was compounding a drug similar to Biodyl, a drug that is not FDA approved or available in the United States. Biodyl described as a vitamin supplement for livestock is used primarily in animals that are engaged in sporting activities or following transport to assist them in their performance or recovery.

This tragedy again strengthens the case for authentication and verification of both the materials used as ingredients and the end use medications for both human and animal consumption. Similar to the adulterated raw material used to produce the Heparin that killed nearly 250 in the United States last year; this incident demonstrates the vulnerability of the United States pharmaceutical supply chain which includes production, distribution and dispensing. Suspicion is now centering on the raw materials that were used in the compounded drugs and the source of supply of these ingredients.

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