Fired Worker Sues Pharmacy Tied to Polo Horse Deaths

The former pharmacy worker who compounded the supplement linked to the deaths of 21 polo horses in April is suing the Ocala, Florida, pharmacy from which she was fired. Sheila Harris is alleging that the termination came as a result of her cooperation with authorities investigating the deaths.  

The problems faced by Franck's Pharmacy-the Ocala, Florida, drug compounder that dispensed a mixture that turned fatal for 21 polo horses back in April-are not over. The pharmacy now has a lawsuit on its hands, filed by former lab technician Sheila Harris, who claims she was fired by the company for providing information to federal and local investigators, according to multiple reports.

It made national headlines when a shocked crowd looked on as the horses, part of the Lechuza Caracas team, began to collapse one by one prior to a US Open polo match. Although FDA and Florida officials are continuing to investigate the matter, it was determined soon after that the horses died from a toxic dose of selenium, an ingredient in the substitute for Biodyl, a non-FDA-approved drug indicated for the treatment of muscle fatigue in horses.

Although Harris' May 14 termination was attributed to company restructuring in a letter from Franck's, the former employee is alleging that she was wrongfully fired, citing Florida's Whistle-Blower's Act. Harris has said she fully cooperated with investigators, informing them of each step involved in preparing the toxic compound. Her termination came a day before the FDA was to return to the pharmacy to continue their investigation, reports stated.

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