Vote No on Measure 7
As President-Elect of the North Dakota Pharmacists Association, I am familiar with the facts regarding Measure 7 – attempting to repeal the requirement that a pharmacy must be owned at least 51 percent by a pharmacist. Don’t be fooled. This measure will not increase competition, nor will it decrease prices. Independent studies have shown North Dakota is already among the lowest prices in the nation. The “big boxes’ ” own organization showed this in a 2012 study. Not to mention, nearly 93 percent of North Dakotans have some sort of prescription coverage. The prices are then determined by insurance contracts, not the independent pharmacy. Many of these contracts force patients to use the big box stores through financial penalties, and make patients pay higher co-pays to use their local independent pharmacy. Independents are not offered the same contract as the big boxes. That’s competition? The only pricing the independents have control over is 7 percent or so that are “cash” prescriptions, of which ND is already among the states with the lowest prices. Check out truepharmacyfacts.com for more info.
Regarding access, North Dakota is already taking care of and reaching out to our patients – even in rural areas – as we have one of the highest rates of pharmacies per capita now. Great access to pharmacy services NOW! According to the census bureau, from 2001 to 2014, N.D. population increased 12.6 percent. In that same timeframe, data from the N.D. State Board of Pharmacy shows a 17.3 percent increase in licensed pharmacies. We are keeping up with our population growth currently! Passing this measure would jeopardize access, with studies showing up to 70 pharmacies that would close.
North Dakota legislators on several occasions have upheld the law, and even the N.D. and U.S. Supreme Courts have stated it is in the best interest of the public. Many people don’t realize, but the big box stores such as Wal-Mart can have a pharmacy now, they just need to follow the law and have at least 51 percent pharmacist ownership. They choose not to do so. Pharmacy is a small portion of their business, it is the majority of the independent’s business. Who do you think is going to work harder to take care of your needs and provide you the best service?
So vote NO on Measure 7. Keep our low prices and access to personalized pharmaceutical care. Mail order doesn’t work when you need the services today.
Kyle DeMontigny, PharmD RPh
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