North Dakota Initiative Seeks to Open Pharmacy Ownership
Current laws in North Dakota require that pharmacists own at least 51% of the operating pharmacy. The impact of the law has been the exclusion of large pharmacy chains in the state. The only chain pharmacy in the state, CVS, has six locations and was grandfathered into the current law. An initiative scheduled to hit the November election ballot seeks to overturn the ownership laws to allow chain pharmacies into the state.
Proponents of the legislation argue that the current law has created a monopoly for local pharmacies, and that it has resulted in higher drug prices for consumers. The side opposing the change has argued that surveys show that North Dakota prescription costs are already below the national average. Both sides agree that voter education will be the key to delivering votes.
Similar attempts to overturn the legislation have failed in the past. In 2009, the state legislature voted to retain the laws despite a large push to open the market to large chain pharmacies.