Veterinarian Hebert, Kohll's Pharmacy Fined, Sentenced in Dermorphin Criminal Case
On Nov. 7, 2017, a federal jury found a Lake Charles veterinarian and a Nebraska pharmacy guilty of conspiring to sell an unapproved opioid drug 40 times more powerful than morphine for the purpose of improving the performance of race horses.
Kyle James Hebert, 42, of Lake Charles, La., and Kohll's Pharmacy & Healthcare Inc. of Omaha, Neb., were sentenced this week, reports katc.com.
Evidence admitted at trial revealed that from November 11, 2010, to December 2012, Hebert, Kohll's Pharmacy & Healthcare Inc. of Omaha, Neb., which operated as Essential Pharmacy Compounding, and others conspired to distribute a synthetic form of the drug Dermorphin, which was then given to racehorses to improve their racing performance. Essential Pharmacy Compounding was found to have repackaged a synthetic form of the drug that it obtained from a California chemical company, labeled it as D-Peptide, and sold it to Hebert and other veterinarians.
Hebert then put the drug into syringes and gave the loaded syringes to the racetrack trainers tasked with the horses' care. Evidence at trial revealed that Dermorphin is a strong painkiller that masks horses' pain and any pre-existing injuries. Depending on dosage, it can also act as a stimulant when injected in horses. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for use in humans or animals. Known widely as “frog juice” or “kambo,” dermorphin in its natural form comes from the excretion of Amazonian tree frogs. It is being used by humans recreationally or for drug addiction treatment or “cleansing — though it is not approved by the FDA for that use.
Hebert was sentenced to 15 months in prison, having been found guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of receipt of adulterated or misbranded drug with the intent to defraud and mislead, and one count of misbranding a drug while held for sale with the intent to defraud and mislead. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and sentenced to three years of supervised release.
Kohll's Pharmacy & Healthcare Inc. was ordered to pay a $200,000 fine and sentenced to five years of corporate probation. It was found guilty of one count of conspiracy and two counts of introduction of adulterated or misbranded drug in interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead.
- The Paulick Report