Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is Raided Pharmacy Linked To Steroids Indictment?

The answer to that provocative question is: No. At least not from anything I can tell. And I checked.

I was waiting yesterday to see if anyone in the media would attempt to connect Applied Pharmacy Services in Las Vegas, which was raided by the DEA and LAPD in connection with the probe into Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson's personal doctor, with a company known as American Pharmacy Solutions in Mobile, Alabama, that was hit earlier this year with a 198-count indictment in a widespread steroids distribution scandal.

Why would anyone confuse the two? Because if you Google "Applied Pharmacy Services," the first two responses are links to some blog that had posted about the Alabama company which is, in fact, named in an indictment as "Applied Pharmacy Services."

Then, if you dig a little deeper and Google "Applied Pharmacy Services, Mobile, AL," you get this:

BUT...the trail grows cold when you click on that link. Then you find yourself on the website of American Pharmacy Solutions. It's a mail-order pharmaceuticals company. They don't have branches or locations. They're not even called Applied Pharmacy Services.

I suspect many other journalists followed this necessary bunny trail to its conclusion as I did for my New York Times piece on yesterday's raid. I called up the Mobile, Ala., place. Asked if they had offices in Las Vegas, were tied to this pharmacy that had been raided. They said no. They could be lying or they could have changed their name since the indictment, that's true, and nobody from the Vegas pharmacy could be reached by anyone in the press yesterday to check it out. But it appears to be a coincidence.

Unfortunately, my private prediction proved correct; someone in the press did report that these were the same company without, so far as I can tell, being able to confirm it. I'm surprised to say it, but it was the normally spot-on Las Vegas Sun.

This information (in that middle paragraph there) didn't appear in anybody else's reports. Not the Associated Press's, not the Review-Journal's. Not even TMZ. So, did the Las Vegas Sun have some great big scoop that everybody else in the press somehow overlooked even though it was the very first thing that came up on Google? The media wouldn't pounce with two feet on the notion that a pharmacy involved in the Jacko case also has an 198-count steroid indictment against them?

As I said, the two could still be related. But I don't know anyone at this stage who has confirmed it. And the lack of being able to confirm something as simple as shared corporate parentage leads me to the conclusion that the Sun jumped the gun this time.


R-J Guy said...

Nice catch! Did you happen to notice who else got this wrong?



Anonymous said...

ABC News reported yesterday that the pharmacies were related. It reported they were related companies operating under different names.


Anon: I just looked all over for an ABC News piece that included that and did not find one. Send along the link, please. As I said, it is absolutely possible, but I find it very weird if the two were related and, two days on, it's just a footnote and not a major story, especially since there wasn't much MJ news yesterday. That tells me that most of the press, myself included, has found the relationship, if any, unconfirmable at best.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile changed their name. They were SERVICES when I worked for them. I don't think they're still open.