SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A cheating scandal on a California State Board of Pharmacy exam has left 1,400 recent graduates unlicensed and unable to work, forcing some to deny job offers as their student loans become due.
The board announced this week it invalidated all test scores on the California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists (CPJE) administered since July after it found evidence of "wide-scale subversion" of the exam.
Board investigators determined more than 100 test questions were shared online. The CPJE is a critical step in the licensure process for new pharmacists.
"The board sincerely regrets that the actions of some are negatively impacting the lives of many," the board wrote in a statement posted Wednesday. "California consumers must have confidence that individuals passing a licensing exam have the requisite knowledge and skills to practice safely and competently."
Some graduates working as interns in pharmacies while waiting for their license said they had lost their jobs over the licensing delay. Others said they had to turn down job offers.
"Our loans are increasing, we are all financially burdened as we can't find jobs until we take this exam," one test-taker wrote in an email to 10News. "People are very frustrated in the lack of communication from the board. We are being punished over other people's mistakes. We don't deserve this."
The board is offering pharmacist applicants a chance to retake the test on November 16 and 17, and said it would "work diligently to expedite the results." That means applicants likely wouldn't be licensed and ready to work until December, leaving some who expected to begin working by late August in a financially stressful situation.
"Most people study for this exam for one to two months," said another test-taker. "The prospect of taking it again is daunting."