Several months after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, police say they are closing their investigation without answering the key question: What drove a gunman to unleash gunfire that killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more? (Aug. 3)

A Nevada state licensing board has accused a doctor and his staff of accessing the private prescription drug records of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock before similar details were published by a media outlet.

The doctor, Ivan Goldsmith, an internal medicine and weight-loss specialist who owns the Trimcare clinic in Las Vegas, is scheduled to appear before the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy on Sept. 5 to face possible discipline over the disclosure of Paddock’s prescription drug records, according to pharmacy board officials. 

Goldsmith either accessed or told his staff to log into Nevada’s prescription monitoring program (PMP) database five times over two days following the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre that killed 58 and wounded hundreds, pharmacy board documents show. Paddock, who killed himself after the mass shooting, was dead when his records were accessed.

Although Paddock was never Goldsmith’s patient, the weight-loss doctor in court documents “admits to directing his office staff to use his PMP account to query Paddock’s confidential patient information and to obtain patient utilization reports on October 2, 2017 and again on October 3, 2017,” the pharmacy board said in a May 1 filing against Goldsmith.

After Goldsmith’s account was used to access those records, the Las Vegas Review-Journal posted an exclusive story the evening of Oct. 3 that reported Paddock had been prescribed the anti-anxiety drug diazepam, known by its brand name, Valium. The report was picked up by media outlets worldwide. 

Goldsmith’s attorney, Brent Bryson, said Goldsmith will assert his Fifth Amendment right to not discuss the case during next month’s board hearing. Because details surrounding the case were reported to Nevada state law enforcement, Bryson has advised his client not to discuss the case before the pharmacy board. 

He added that the Clark County District Attorney’s Office informed Goldsmith in a letter this month that it has declined to bring criminal charges. A Clark County DA representative confirmed to USA TODAY that no criminal charges have been filed in connection with Paddock’s prescription disclosure but declined to share any communication sent to Goldsmith or his attorney. 

“Had the pharmacy board held a hearing prior to reporting it to law enforcement, we’d  be able to talk about things,” said Bryson, noting that his client has never been disciplined by a licensing board during more than 30 years of practicing medicine. 

Bryson said Goldsmith plans to sell his Las Vegas medical practice and has moved to Florida for a new job opportunity. He is licensed to practice medicine in several states, including Florida.

The pharmacy board investigated the records leak after the Review-Journal published details of Paddock’s prescriptions in the Oct. 3 story and updated the following day. Board staff discovered Goldsmith’s account was used to access the prescription database five times after the shooting and before  the newspaper’s article, said Brett Kandt, the pharmacy board’s general counsel.

The prescription database contains records of all controlled substances, such as opioids and benzodiazepines such as Valium, that are prescribed and dispensed. Nevada doctors and other practitioners who prescribe controlled substances must review a patient’s prescription history to determine whether a drug is medically necessary. The database allows a doctor to check for drugs that have potentially dangerous interactions or ensure a patient is not seeking similar drugs from multiple practitioners.

The prescription records are protected from unauthorized use of disclosure under Nevada state law and the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. 

“The shooter was not a patient of Dr. Goldsmith,” Kandt said. “He had no lawful reason to access the shooter’s information in the database. We cut off his access to the database.”

Even without Internet access to the prescription database, Goldsmith was allowed to check on his patients by contacting pharmacy board staff to verify records, Kandt said. 

Goldsmith filed a petition at Clark County District Court last October seeking to force the pharmacy board to reactivate his prescription database account. 


On Nov. 21, 2017, a Clark County judge rejected Goldsmith’s petition because the board “reasonably determined” that deactivating his account “was necessary to prevent further unauthorized use” in violation of federal and state laws.

However, the judge’s order did not implicate Goldsmith as the source of any potential media leaks. 

“While the board had no direct evidence that Dr. Goldsmith disclosed the patient utilization report of Stephen Paddock to anyone, Dr. Goldsmith had no lawful purpose for obtaining the report in the first place,” the judge wrote in the order. 

The pharmacy board eventually reinstated Goldsmith’s access to the database, but it is still pursuing disciplinary action. 

On May 1, the pharmacy board filed a notice of detailing five “causes of action” for potential discipline against Goldsmith. 

The document states that by accessing or directing his staff to access Paddock’s records after the shooter died, Goldsmith engaged in unprofessional conduct, violated state laws that apply to prescription database certificate holders and HIPAA privacy rules.

The state licensing board points to Goldsmith’s account as the source of the media reports. “By disclosing or allowing to be disclosed to the press – Las Vegas Review Journal and/or writer Paul Harasim – Paddock’s confidential PMP data on October 2 and October 3, 2017, Goldsmith violated state and federal law,” the document stated. 

Nevada state law allows the board to impose a range of actions against a prescriber’s certificate, including probation, suspension, revocation or issuing fines up to $10,000 for each violation.

Bryson said that during last year’s court hearing, representatives of the pharmacy board testified that other people had accessed the prescription database.

“I don’t know why Dr. Goldsmith is being picked on,” Bryson said.  “It seems like a witch hunt.”

Three other prescribers attempted to access the shooter’s records, but the pharmacy board blocked all queries on Paddock’s records following the newspaper’s report. Goldsmith’s account was the only one that successfully accessed Paddock’s records, Kandt said. The three doctors who unsuccessfully attempted to access the records were issued letters of reprimand.

The Las Vegas newspaper’s article, citing records obtained from Nevada’s prescription monitoring program, reported that Paddock had filled prescriptions for the drug on separate occasions at pharmacies in Henderson and Reno.

Harasim, a former Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter who wrote the stories on Paddock’s prescriptions, told USA TODAY that he obtained the records “from a source that can’t be named.”

While Harasim declined to reveal his source, he offered a possible explanation of why a doctor may be willing to share records with the public.

“All I know is a physician was trying to act in the public interest,” said Harasim, now a writer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Medicine. “The doctor was concerned about whether particular drugs had somehow influenced this murderer’s behavior.”


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