Nevada Pharmacy Board in midst of investigation, major shake-up
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday announced he has ordered a major shake-up of the state Pharmacy Board after discovering that body has failed for more than a decade to conduct legally-mandated background checks on those seeking licensing.
He said Public Safety Director George Togliatti advised him in May that the board, “had routinely failed, since as far back as 2007, to submit fingerprints for required criminal background checks of applicants for wholesale pharmacy licenses and renewals.”
Background checks were made mandatory in 2005 because of concerns surrounding wholesaler distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
Sisolak said even though the board wasn’t doing the background checks, it was, nonetheless, collecting the fees from applicants for processing fingerprint cards.
Sisolak said that, on the same day he was told about the problem, he ordered a full investigation of the board, an immediate moratorium on issuing wholesale licenses and an emergency audit of the board.
He also has ordered those unspent applicant fees be returned to the applicants where possible. The cash is apparently in the Pharmacy Board’s budget accounts.
The investigation has already resulted in the resignation of the board’s chairman.
“Additionally, I have taken steps to ensure that the membership of the board of Pharmacy will be made up of a majority of new appointees so we can have a fresh start,” he said at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Togliatti said they are recovering remaining fingerprint cards from the board and moving them to a secure location. They are also identifying all current licensees who didn’t undergo a background check so they can be properly processed.
He said the board has now provided information on the number of licensees who did pass background checks, the number whose background checks revealed “potentially disqualifying events,” a financial accounting of the fees and a timeline for completing background checks on all current licensees.
While the audit is now complete, he said the investigation is still open. Because of that, Sisolak said they aren’t in a position to reveal additional details at this time.
He also said there is a larger issue raised by the situation: “The Pharmacy Board is not the only state licensing board in Nevada that deserves an in-depth review. My administration is aware of allegations related to other state boards and we share serious concerns over what appears to be a pattern displaying a lack of oversight and accountability.”