Following a years-long, multi-agency investigation, Pike County osteopathic physician Thad Manning has pleaded guilty to relabeling sample drugs.
Prosecutors charge that Manning gave workers at a pharmacy run by Ron Huffman access to the samples in return for rent and other drugs, including painkillers.
And according to U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey, the deal-making didn’t stop there.
"There was a Houston Texas physician who was writing prescriptions for thousands of prescription painkillers that were being filled in Kentucky. There were pharmacy employees involved in this," he says. "The larger effort was to illegally distribute prescription narcotics in Eastern Kentucky."
That arrangement allegedly went on for years.
Following his indictment in the Manning case and another involving a drug ring in 2012, Huffman committed suicide. In all, several people were convicted in the cases, including Huffman and his sister, pharmacy manager Beverly Lockhart, six drug dealers, and a pharmacy employee.
The investigation was the result of coordination between the FDA, the FBI, the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy, the Kentucky Office of the Inspector General, and the Kentucky State Police.
"This has been a multi-agency effort, which is really required to successfully prosecute this sort of case," Harvey says.
Manning was the last defendant to plead guilty. He now faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.