Doctor charged with murder again

New Carlisle doctor charged in illegal drug sales
Government alleges Dr. David Fischer prescribed pain relievers, including Oxycontin, for no medical purpose. By MATTHEW S. GALBRAITH
Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND -- A New Carlisle doctor faces a federal detention hearing today after being charged with 10 counts related to the illegal distribution of controlled substances, including the narcotic pain reliever Oxycontin.

Dr. David Fischer, who runs a family medical practice at 229 W. Chestnut St., is charged with eight counts of illegally dispensing controlled substances and two counts of making false statements in connection with the payment of health care benefits.

Substances that he allegedly prescribed illegally are Oxycontin, Demerol, morphine, methadone and APAP/Oxycodone, according to the criminal complaint. They are all associated with pain management and therapy.

An arrest warrant was issued Friday, and Fischer made an initial appearance Monday before U.S. Magistrate Christopher A. Nuechterlein. The government is seeking to keep Fischer in custody pending trial.

Charles Wahl, a diversion investigator with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, filed an affidavit saying Fischer was investigated after a pharmacist expressed concerns to state police about the general practitioner's prescribing habits.

A confidential informant and two undercover officers participated in the probe, which lasted about 11 months and led to searches of Fischer's office and residence, Wahl said.

Fischer made statements to investigators in which he acknowledged writing fraudulent prescriptions, Wahl stated. Fischer reportedly told investigators that he had financial problems, but things were starting to improve at his medical clinic.

Wahl gave the following account of the investigation by local and federal agents:

After the initial complaint about Fischer, the LaPorte Metro Operations interviewed an individual who had been a patient of Fischer and later an employee of his medical clinic.

The unidentified informant told authorities of being addicted to Demerol, which was obtained using presigned prescription slips from Fischer.

The source reported that many of Fischer's patients were drug addicts and some of them were selling the drugs prescribed by Fischer, who reportedly was aware of the activity, according to the affidavit.

The source also claimed to have smoked marijuana with Fischer that allegedly was supplied by another patient.

Another office employee reported that an increasing number of Fischer's patients were obtaining prescriptions for controlled substances for vague and generalized pains, Wahl stated. Symptoms included muscle spasms and lower back pain.

An insurance provider's report in March indicated that Fischer had an unusually high percentage of prescriptions for controlled substances, including Oxycontin.

The undercover officers began seeing Fischer as "patients" in June of last year. One was able to get prescriptions for Oxycontin with minimal examination.

A search warrant served at Fischer's residence turned up vials of Demerol and Diazepam, marijuana and used syringes.

Staff writer Matthew S. Galbraith:
[email protected]

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