Pharmacist linked to steroids found dead

January 29, 2008 9:46:22 AM PST
A Brooklyn pharmacist who was being investigated for sales of steroids and human growth hormone was found dead Monday evening in an office above his pharmacy, in what police said appears to be a suicide.A suicide note and gun were found next to the body of John Rossi, 56, who was shot in the head, police said.

Rossi's store, Lowen's Pharmacy, in Bay Ridge, is an old-fashioned neighborhood drugstore that had expanded into selling steroids and growth hormone both locally and around the U.S.

A multistate investigation conducted by Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares led to two raids on Lowen's by the State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement last year. In mid-October, state agents confiscated a supply of human growth hormone with an estimated market value of $7.5 million that had been improperly imported from China.

It is not illegal in New York for pharmacies to dispense steroids and human growth hormone for valid medical purposes, but their activities are tightly regulated and it is a crime for a doctor to prescribe drugs without examining the patient. All Chinese human growth hormone has been banned in the U.S.

After seeing Rossi earlier on Monday, employees noticed that he was missing late in the day. They found his body in the second floor office around 7 p.m.

No one connected with the pharmacy had been charged in the investigation. The pharmacy's vice president was arrested during the October raid, but was released without being charged.