Pharmacy bill unbelievableSome rules don’t make any sense and the pharmacy ownership law is among them. It is hard to understand what educated state leaders were thinking when they decided to keep the law, which requires pharmacies be majority-owned by a pharmacist in order to operate in North Dakota.
By: Dickinson Press Editorial, The Dickinson Press
Some rules don’t make any sense and the pharmacy ownership law is among them. It is hard to understand what educated state leaders were thinking when they decided to keep the law, which requires pharmacies be majority-owned by a pharmacist in order to operate in North Dakota.
The repeal lost on a 57-35 vote after an hour-long debate Feb. 13. So the 40-year-old law wins and the residents who spend their hard-earned money on prescriptions lose.
Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby, who favored repealing the law, had it right when he said, “Trust the people of North Dakota. Let the people decide. Nobody’s forcing anyone to do anything different.”
What is the rational behind this law? We know that it ensures reduced competition.
Why is it OK to take this approach to business when it comes to pharmacies and not other businesses? No other business is restricted by such a rule. Big box stores are allowed to come in, which can be detrimental to ma and pa stores. There are multiple health care facilities, car lots, restaurants, taverns, and so on. And you know what they do? They give consumers a choice. They encourage competition. Why does North Dakota want to set barriers to do business in? The state should welcome new business and encourage diversity.
Lobbyists on both sides of the issue pushed hard and commercials filled the airwaves. The pro-pharmacy ownership commercials claimed small-town pharmacies have the bargains and everything that consumers need. They also claimed the prices for medication in North Dakota, on a national average, are lower. If this is the case, why are the pharmacy owners worried? What loyal customer would take their business elsewhere if they truly are being provided the best service and price? Let’s hope the small-town pharmacists are keeping up with their end of the bargain.
But the state representatives apparently know what is best for the people of North Dakota — and it’s not letting them decide where to do their business. Who wants a choice of $4 prescriptions and generics?
And apparently the convenience of having pharmacies on-sight at a number of hospitals isn’t appealing to the decision makers. The other 49 states must be doing something wrong if they don’t have such a rule.
The state isn’t blocking the Wal-Marts and Applebee’s from coming to the state, why is it OK to block Walgreens and CVS?
This law, in many cases, also denies residents the ease of getting medications, transferring prescriptions and searching for low prices online — services that many of the larger pharmacies offer but many of the small-town businesses do not. A quick Internet search finds this to be true in most cases.
The decision should have been a no-brainer. When all was said and done the reps didn’t make a very good choice and let’s hope this issue comes before them again in the future. Maybe this time they will do what is right for business, the state and those who need it most — those spending hundreds and often thousands of dollars a year on prescription medication.
— Editorial Board members meet weekly to discuss issues of local importance.