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Published: Friday, 3/17/2006

Deal drops drug counts in exchange for license

DEFIANCE - Felony charges against a former ProMedica Health System physician and operator of a private pain management practice in Defiance are expected to be dropped today in Defiance County Common Pleas Court in an agreement with the physician who surrendered his medical license.

Alan Martin Gardner, 52, had pleaded not guilty to indictments from 2004 on one count of Medicaid fraud, two felony counts of aggravated trafficking, and two counts of corrupting another with drugs - OxyContin - relating to the unborn child of one of his patients.

An investigation by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy continues, however. And the deal with the Defiance County prosecutor's office to drop the current indictments in exchange for Mr. Gardner's medical license does not affect any possible future charges, said Morris Murray, an assistant county prosecutor.

The drug charges were for selling or offering OxyContin, which is a controlled substance, on March 25 and May 12, according to the indictment. Mr. Gardner was employed by ProMedica Health System at that time.

The Medicaid fraud charge was based on falsely obtaining reimbursement from the medical assistance program of between $500 and $5,000 between March 1 and June 30, according to the indictment.

ProMedica spokesmen have said Mr. Gardner, who was employed nearly four years by ProMedica at Defiance Regional Medical Center starting in July, 2000, was terminated for issues unrelated to the indictment. After his firing, Mr. Gardner advertised a private practice in pain management in Defiance.

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