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Clark County looks at regulating hangover treatment providers

Updated August 20, 2019 - 6:32 pm

Treating hangovers has become serious business on the Las Vegas Strip, prompting the Clark County Commission on Tuesday to take steps toward regulating the IV-therapy industry.

Without greater oversight, the industry that focuses on giving IV fluids to hungover tourists “is a disaster waiting to happen, frankly,” said Commissioner Tick Segerblom, citing the potential for spreading diseases such as hepatitis.

Dr. Jason Burke, founder of pioneering IV-therapy business Hangover Heaven, told commissioners that he would like to see the industry regulated through a requirement to obtain a privileged license or, as Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick suggested, through the Southern Nevada Health District.

County staff now plan to draft an ordinance that includes IV therapy as a new business license category, which will be brought to the commission for consideration.

As things stand, a medical practitioner who violates state licensing regulations may be dismissed from the IV-therapy business, posing no lasting consequences for the business owners, said Burke, a board-certified anesthesiologist. Medical personnel can run afoul of licensing boards by writing prescriptions for IV fluids without having contact with the patients they’re treating, he said.

The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy has gotten an estimated 10 and 20 complaints related to the IV-therapy businesses, said David Wuest, the board’s executive director. The complaints center on patients not actually seeing — or teleconferencing with — a doctor or other practitioner who is licensed to prescribe drugs.

Wuest confirmed that the board had substantiated such a complaint against Dr. Raanan Pokroy with the Reviv clinics, which have three offices on the Strip.

As a patient, Wuest said, “You want the doctor to see you prior to getting the medication.” Raanan and his operation have since come into compliance, he said.

Dr. Adam Nadelson, who is affiliated with the I.V. Doc clinic in Las Vegas, has been reprimanded in the state of Louisiana in connection with the administration of intravenous medications.

Neither Pokroy nor Nadelson returned calls Tuesday afternoon seeking comment.

The pharmacy board works with the state medical and nursing boards to investigate IV-therapy businesses when there are complaints.

“The boards are working together to make sure this is a safe practice for the citizens of Nevada,” he said.

Burke said that Hangover Heaven patients, most of whom are treated in their hotel rooms, will first participate in a video conference with a doctor or nurse practitioner, who will obtain a brief medical history — including a list of medications — reach a diagnosis and prescribe an IV treatment. A nurse then will take the treatment to the patient, Burke said.

The IV treatment might include vitamins and antioxidants and headache and nausea medication. A “Salvation” hangover cure costs $199 in addition to the $100 house-call fee.

Roughly a dozen IV-therapy businesses cater to Las Vegas-area tourists.

This file has been changed to say Hangover Heaven patients will first participate in a video conference with a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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