The Journal Record
August 8, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY – Two weeks after ousting a director who is under investigation for bribery, the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy appointed a fill-in on Wednesday.
The board named Ardmore pharmacist Dorothy Gourley the agency’s interim director. She will replace Chelsea Church, who was ousted after the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced it was investigating her following bribery allegations. That board regulates pharmacies across the state and helps enforce national pharmacy regulations.
In addition to working as a pharmacist, Gourley has worked as a consultant to aid pharmacies in rural hospitals, according to a news release issued shortly after Wednesday morning’s board meeting. She is a past president and executive council member of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association.
“Dorothy Gourley’s knowledge of the board from her time as a board member, combined with her understanding of the industry from her years as a pharmacist make her an excellent choice to serve in this capacity,” Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy President Kyle Whitehead said in a prepared statement.
Church’s departure was tied to the political scandal at the Department of Health regarding medical marijuana rules. In addition to facing two lawsuits challenging its regulatory framework, the department has lost employees during the ordeal.
Its general counsel, Julie Ezell, reported threats she had allegedly received from marijuana supporters to the OSBI. Agents determined that Ezell had sent them to herself using her cellphone.
Soon, the bureau began investigating other allegations stemming from Ezell’s text correspondence. Records indicate that Church offered Ezell a position in her own agency at the Board of Pharmacy while requesting the controversial rule that would require pharmacists to be present in marijuana dispensaries. Although Ezell advised against that requirement, the board implemented it. Those texts spurred allegations of bribery, which OSBI announced it was investigating.
The Board of Health rescinded its rule that mandated pharmacists be in dispensaries after two lawsuits alleged it was an illegal rule that surpassed the board’s authority. Attorney General Mike Hunter also said in a letter the pharmacist requirement surpassed the board’s authority and could be enacted only by a new law. The Department of Health presented to the legislative joint working group on marijuana Wednesday, and it recommended a law change allowing the pharmacist requirement.