By: Alia Conley
Kohll’s Pharmacy & Homecare is contesting federal conspiracy charges filed against it that allege it was involved in a scheme to manipulate horse races in Louisiana.
The Omaha company is accused of obtaining a synthetic version of a drug, falsely identifying and relabeling it and selling it to Dr. Kyle James Hebert, a veterinarian, from 2010 to 2012.
In court documents, Omaha attorney Dave Domina, who is representing Kohll’s, wrote that prosecutors’ allegations of false invoices and labels will be “hotly disputed” at trial.
Authorities say Hebert, who also faces charges in the case filed in Louisiana, told horse trainers that “the medication would make the horses focus and run faster,” according to court documents.
Officials contend that Hebert told trainers the drug would not be detected in blood tests and directed them to administer a shot an hour before race time, which is against racing regulations.
Domina said in court documents that Kohll’s has a compounding pharmacy service, Essential Pharmacy Compounding, that creates personalized medicine for patients. The company fills prescriptions to veterinarians for many types of animals in all 50 states.
Domina said Kohll’s officials did not know the substance it sold to Hebert “was intended to be used, or would be used, for race horses, or at a racetrack, or on race day.”
In an email, Domina wrote, “Kohll’s denies knowing anything about what (Hebert) did with the preparations it supplied, and denies that its role was wrongful in any way.”
Federal prosecutors allege that Kohll’s got a synthetic version of a drug called dermorphin from a supplier in California and offered it for sale. Then, officials allege, Kohll’s “falsely relabeled the product … with labeling that made it appear that the product was a compounded drug created by Kohll’s” for Hebert.
Invoices listed the drug both as “d-peptide” — a “fictitious name,” officials said — and dermorphin.
Within about a year and a half, officials said, Hebert paid Kohll’s $25,140 for roughly 815 milligrams of dermorphin.
Jury selection in the case in U.S. District Court in Lake Charles, La., is set to begin Monday.