The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) faces a proposed class action lawsuit after falsely reporting—for the second year in a row—that hundreds of individuals had failed the all-important North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).
The 25-page lawsuit states that some students, who after their undergraduate educations spent four years studying to receive their doctor of pharmacy degrees, received “some of the worst news they would ever receive” when NABP wrongly told them that they had failed the NAPLEX. The case stresses that the NAPLEX is the culmination of the academic careers of those who have received a doctor of pharmacy degree and are about to advance into their professional lives, akin to the bar examination for lawyers and the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination for doctors.
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“A passing score often confirms a job contract, residency, or other opportunity,” the complaint reads. “A failing score, however, leads not only to trauma and distress, but also to demotions or even a rescinded job offers [sic] or residencies. That said, the trauma and distress that came with [candidates] being told that they had failed cannot be understated.”
According to the case, the plaintiff, a Texas resident and one of roughly 600 people who took the NAPLEX between August 31 and September 8, 2021 and between July 30 and October 26, 2022, lost her intern license, the ability to work her full-time job, and her part-time job, as a result of NABP’s negligent test scoring.
“For two (2) months Plaintiff was led to believe she failed where she had passed. For two (2) months Plaintiff was paid markedly less money than she would have been but for Defendant’s wrongdoing. Then (two months later) Plaintiff learned that NABP had been negligent in its scoring duties and that Plaintiff had actually passed the NAPLEX.”
The case scathes that as a result of NABP’s negligence in scoring and producing the NAPLEX, hundreds of would-be licensed/registered pharmacists were “subject to the embarrassment, stress, pressure, and negative connotations associated with failing the exam.” The filing contends that NABP’s express warranties about the NAPLEX create a contract between the body and test takers whereby NABP promises to provide proper exam results.
Even worse, NABP knew about the problems with the NAPLEX scoring system since the same thing happened to more than 400 students last year, the lawsuit relays.
To become a pharmacist, an individual must generally attend a four-year institution and major in a field such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry or medicinal chemistry before then taking the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and applying to an accredited pharmacy school to earn a doctoral degree, the lawsuit explains. Pharmacy candidates must also complete an internship/residency program and experiential learning in a pharmacy practice setting, the case says. From there, aspiring pharmacists must take two licensure exams and satisfy any prerequisites set by the state in which they plan to practice, the suit adds.
The NAPLEX is a roughly six-hour standardized, computer-based exam developed by NABP to assist state boards of pharmacy in evaluating a candidate’s skills and knowledge for licensure. The test consists of 225 multiple-choice questions concerning managing drug therapy, safely and accurately preparing and dispending medicines, providing drug information and promoting public health, the suit relays. To take the test, applicants must apply for eligibility and pay a $100 application fee, as well as submit transcripts, buy the exam for $475 and schedule a date with a testing center, the filing says.
Although the NAPLEX was once scored on a numerical scale, requiring a 75 or higher to pass, in January 2021 NABP started reporting only “pass” and “fail” scores, the suit states.
According to the case, this is not the first instance of “pharmageddon” brought on by NABP’s failure to properly score the NAPLEX. In 2021, after implementing its new pass-fail scoring method, the governing body reportedly published incorrect test results for more than 400 students, some of whom were told they failed when they in fact passed, while others who failed were wrongly told that they passed.
“Weeks after the erroneous scoring occurred, NABP admitted to incorrectly scoring the exams,” the lawsuit shares. “At that point, the effected [sic] test takers had already lost coveted jobs and residencies due to the false failing results that NABP reported.”
In 2022, it took NABP roughly two months to inform NAPLEX takers of the test-scoring mistakes, more than a month longer than it took to disclose the problem last year, the filing continues.
The lawsuit looks to cover all persons in the United States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands who took the NAPLEX test administered by NABP between August 31 and September 8, 2021 and July 30 through October 26, 2022 and to whom the defendant sent a letter indicating that their NAPLEX score was incorrectly calculated and a correct passing score was issued.
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Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.