Oxford doctor pleads in drug trafficking case

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Oxford Dr. Rick Bucher has pleaded guilty to obstruction of official business, a misdemeanor.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Oxford Dr. Rick Bucher had been facing drug trafficking charges.

An Oxford doctor has admitted to being less than truthful with state medical board agents as part of a plea deal reached Thursday.

Dr. Rick Bucher pleaded guilty to obstruction of official business, a misdemeanor.

Bucher, 60, was charged with seven counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and two courts of trafficking in drugs for allegedly selling more than 700 Oxycodone pills and other drugs to a person who worked at his Oxford office, Ohio Family Practice.

The drug trafficking charges he faced were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Explore WATCH: Oxford doctor takes the stand in his own defense

Assistant Prosecutor David Kash said the plea was accepted because of elements of the drug trafficking law.

Although a legal expert testified Bucher failed to meet the minimum requirements incumbent on physicians when prescribing controlled substances, there was doubt the actions met the crime of drug trafficking.

“The jury would have considered that he acted in good faith when providing treatment to decide if he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of drug trafficking,” Kash said.

Defense attorney Chris Pagan, the doctor and supporters declined to comment after the plea.

Explore MORE: Woman says she kept previous drug abuse a secret

The doctor, who has practiced medicine for 34 years, testified earlier this week that he wrote nine prescriptions in a three-month period for a woman who worked in his office on Morning Sun Road.

Oxycodone and other drugs for pain and anxiety were prescribed in 2015 to Crystal Patterson, who was assigned to Bucher’s office as an employee of Physicians Choice Laboratory Services.

Bucher testified he did take Patterson into an examination room and question her about her pain and medications. Patterson testified such examinations did not occur.

Both Bucher and Patterson testified the doctor did not receive money or any other “kickbacks” for writing Patterson prescriptions.

Bucher, however, did not keep a chart for Patterson nor did he have her monitored for opioid usage as required by the Ohio Medical Board.

But, he said, her health — she said she was suffering from hip and back pain — did improve when she was on the medication.

Bucher testified he did not know Patterson had previously sought treatment for drug abuse and later was trading the medication he prescribed for heroin.

Patterson testified that she kept her previous drug addiction a secret.

Bucher faces 90 days in jail. He had faced up to 22 years in prison if convicted on all of the original charges.

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