THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
A former Maumee cardiologist accused of illegally distributing prescription pain medicine entered guilty pleas to eight felony counts on Tuesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
Barry P. DeRan, 55, of Lambertville pleaded guilty to four counts each of trafficking in drugs and attempted trafficking in drugs.
The plea agreement approved by Judge Gene Zmuda calls for the doctor to surrender his state medical license. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 22 additional felony trafficking charges at the doctor’s sentencing.
He was indicted in November, 2012, on 15 counts each of aggravated possession of drugs and aggravated trafficking in drugs.
The case was investigated by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, which, with the help of law enforcement, searched the doctor’s home and office in March, 2012.
DeRan admitted in court that he improperly prescribed or attempted to prescribe the pain medication OxyContin on multiple occasions in 2009 to people he knows or those referred to him.
He told Judge Zmuda that the people who obtained the drug were not patients under his care.
“I did not follow the [state] guidelines for prescribing certain pain medications,” he said.
He faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines when he is sentenced Sept. 11. Under state sentencing laws, Judge Zmuda must impose a mandatory suspension of DeRan’s driver’s license.
Kathryn Sandretto, an assistant county prosecutor, said the conviction stems from illegal prescriptions that DeRan admitted to writing in February, March, April, and June in 2009. She said the plea agreement to resolve the case was made, in part, because of evidentiary concerns involving key witnesses.
DeRan, a specialist in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine, also faces illegal weapons charges in U.S. District Court in Toledo. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and making false statements in the acquisition of firearms, and unlawfully dealing in firearms. A trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 3.
The defendant’s attorney, Rick Kerger, said after the hearing that his client provided the prescriptions for people who needed medications.
“He was actually doing nothing but trying to help people, which is what he dedicated his life to. It’s that in just a couple of instances he did it the wrong way,” Mr. Kerger said.
Contact Mark Reiter at: email@example.com or 419-724-6199.