Audit: NC pharmacies not routinely inspected
Posted October 24, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — More than one-third of the pharmacies operating in North Carolina haven't been inspected by state regulators in at least four years, according to a state audit released Thursday.
Auditors said the infrequent inspections could endanger public health, noting inspections performed by the state Board of Pharmacy turned up evidence of various problems.
"Drugs being mislabeled. The wrong medications being dispensed. A pharmacy operating 10 months without a pharmacist," State Auditor Beth Wood said.
During the 12 months covered in the audit, from October 2011 to September 2012, only 11 percent of the pharmacies statewide underwent a routine inspection, even though the board has a 25 percent annual goal, the audit states.
Jay Campbell, executive director of the Board of Pharmacy, said the board has computerized more of its records in recent months to ensure that pharmacies don't fall through the cracks on inspections. Previously, the board used paper records, which didn't give staff an effective way to monitor the process.
Campbell noted, however, that state laws that outline the board's duties center on investigations of pharmacies that might be breaking the law, not routine health-related inspections.
There is no state law requiring routine pharmacy inspections, and the Board of Pharmacy has no policy on the matter, according to the audit. Also, auditors noted, the board's abilities are limited by having only seven inspectors to check on more than 2,700 licensed pharmacies in North Carolina.
Still, the audit recommends that the board develop a policy to ensure regular inspections and try to hire more inspectors to carry them out.
Wood said she feels better that the Board of Pharmacy is updating its records to track pharmacies better.
"We'll be able to understand if it was effective and if they were the right moves when we go back in there 12 to 18 months from now," she said.