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In Big Win for Local Ownership, North Dakota Votes to Keep State’s Pharmacy Law

Date: 5 Nov 2014 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

At North Dakota polls on Tuesday, local ownership was the winner.

The state voted overwhelmingly to keep its forward-thinking Pharmacy Ownership Law, defeating Measure 7, the Walmart-funded effort to overturn it. Final returns came in with 59 percent of the vote in favor of the law, the Fargo Forum reports.

As Governing magazine notes, “It wasn’t even close.”

North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law ensures that the state’s pharmacies are run by pharmacists, not by corporate chains.

In October, ILSR released a report that provided new data and analysis of the law’s impact, and made a compelling case for keeping it.  The report found that, thanks to the state’s local ownership policy, North Dakotans receive pharmacy care that outperforms care in other states on every key measure, from cost to access to quality.  The findings were covered by both newspaper and radio outlets in North Dakota.

The opposition campaign, called North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices, was fueled by misinformation, and funded exclusively by Walmart, which sank more than $3 million into the group. That’s more money per North Dakota resident than either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney each spent during the 2012 presidential race.

Measure 7 marks the fourth time in the past five years that North Dakota has fielded off corporate-funded attempts to overturn the law. Now, it has survived challenges in court, in the state legislature, and at the polls.

As we wrote earlier this week, “It’s more important than ever to ensure that everyone has convenient access to a high quality pharmacy, where decisions are made by local people whose first allegiance is to health care, not to the profits of a distant chain.”

In Tuesday’s vote, North Dakota again showed that it agrees.

For the full rundown on how North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law delivers superior care, read our report. For more information on Pharmacy Ownership Laws as a policy tool in other places, check out our Rules Library.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Filer.

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Olivia LaVecchia

Olivia LaVecchia is a former senior researcher with ILSR’s Independent Business Initiative. Her work focused on building awareness and support for public policy tools that strengthen locally owned businesses and check concentrated economic power.