CARSON CITY, NV - October 29, 2019
Today, the Governor and Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director George Togliatti held a press conference to provide insight on a longstanding, alarming issue concerning the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy (BOP) wholesale pharmacy licensing process that was brought to the Governor’s attention earlier this year. They also described the aggressive steps the Governor’s Administration has taken to address the issue in the immediate and long-term to protect the public health and safety of all Nevadans.
On May 3rd of this year, Director Togliatti informed the Governor’s Office of his discovery that the BOP had routinely failed, since as far back as 2007, to submit fingerprints to the Central Repository for Nevada Records for Criminal History for required criminal background checks of applicants for wholesale pharmacy licenses and renewals, pursuant to a state law that was enacted in 2005 to protect against the distribution of counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. Additionally, the Governor’s Office was also notified that the BOP had been collecting fees from applicants for the processing of fingerprint cards since the law went into effect, despite not submitting the actual fingerprints for background checks.
On the same day the Governor learned of this failure of duty by the BOP, he issued a letter to the then-Chair of the BOP instituting an immediate moratorium on the Board’s issuance of wholesale pharmacy licenses. In that letter, the Governor also initiated an investigation into BOP practices regarding fingerprinting requirements and the collection and disposition of associated fees. The DPS’s Division of Investigations (NDI) conducted the investigation and issued a first set of findings to the Governor’s Office.
On July 19th, the BOP provided NDI with up-to-date information regarding, among other things, the status of wholesale licensee fingerprinting; a financial accounting of fees the BOP collected to process fingerprint cards; and a timeline and robust action plan according to which the BOP anticipated it would fix the issues identified and complete all background checks for current wholesale licensees.
After being briefed by DPS Director Togliatti and NDI Chief Pat Conmay on their findings, the Governor requested that the Executive Branch Audit Division conduct an emergency audit of the BOP with specific focus on the wholesale pharmacy licensing requirements, fingerprint backgrounding, and associated fee collection.
The Governor announced today that he is authorizing the recommendations proposed by the Audit Division:
- Lifting the temporary moratorium on granting wholesale pharmacy licenses to eligible applicants.
- Directing the BOP to return unspent fingerprint fees to the appropriate applicants and licensees and transfer any fees that cannot be returned or tied to an individual or entity to the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Account.
- Requesting that the BOP hold accountable those who failed in their statutory obligations to protect the health and safety of Nevadans.
- The Governor announced today that he is authorizing the recommendations proposed by the Audit Division:
To ensure that longstanding problems do not reoccur, the Governor also requested that the Audit Division continue to review on a regular basis BOP practices, policies, and procedures regarding statutory fingerprint background requirements for wholesale pharmacy applicants and provide a summary report to the Governor’s Office.
The Governor is very disappointed in the BOP’s neglect and outright abdication of its duties with respect to the fingerprinting process. Governor Sisolak’s administration will continue to monitor the situation and update the public to ensure that the BOP acts to protect the public health and safety as it was created to do.