More Than 400 Pharmacy Grads Told They Failed National Exam When in Fact They Passed

You spend four years in undergraduate school studying life sciences. 

You do well enough to get into grad school.

Then you spend four years in pharmacy school and you get a 3.8 GPA and your Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Then you spend three to four months studying for the national license exam – known as the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam or NAPLEX.

You know that 90 percent of your graduating pharmacy school class will pass the exam. You study hard. You feel good about it. And you think you did well.

And then you get an email saying – you failed.



Emotional distress.

You spend the first couple of days in crisis mode. You break down. You can’t believe it.

A big national pharmacy chain is ready to hire you – but now that is on hold.

Your parents are freaked out. 

You are freaked out. 

Your boyfriend is freaked out.

But after a couple of days of depression, you pull yourself together, go online, and sign on to take the test again. 

You pay the exam fee – again.

You sign up with a study group of other test takers — again. 

You have a full time job, but when you get home, you spend five hours a day studying — again.

Then, three weeks later, you get an email from Lemrey “Al” Carter, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy NABP, the group that administers NAPLEX.

“NABP writes to notify you that NABP conducted a review of your NAPLEX score results,” Carter wrote. “We are happy to inform you that NABP’s internal examination score review showed that you passed the NAPLEX you took in the last three weeks. . .NABP values its relationship with you and apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

“Regards, Al.”

After three weeks of suffering — jubilation and relief.

Last week, NABP posted a note on its website explaining the situation.

“Approximately 430 NAPLEX candidates who took the exam between August 31 and September 8 received initial results that were incorrect,” the note read. “This occurred as a result of a system update that affected the NAPLEX scoring process. Those results were corrected and an email was sent on Friday, September 17, to all affected candidates with their correct results and our sincere apologies for this situation.”

We reached out to Carter to get some more clarification on the matter.

“NABP performed a system update that affected the scoring process and caused some NAPLEX exams to be wrongly scored,” Carter writes back. “When NABP became aware of what happened, we immediately notified affected students, provided them with their correct scores and our apologies for the confusion and for any negative impacts they may have experienced.”

How many of the 430 were told they failed when in fact they passed?

Carter says 410 were told they failed when in fact they passed. 

And the other twenty? 

They were told they passed when in fact they failed the exam, Carter said.


That probably means that many of those twenty actually got their license to practice — and then it was taken away? 

Would NABP provide compensation to those adversely affected by the “system update”?

No word from Carter on this yet.

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