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A Walgreens without a pharmacy…what gives?

| Written by Justin Dahlheimer | No Comments | Updated on Aug 14, 2009 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Today Walgreens opened a new store in Fargo, North Dakota, and people came with prescriptions in hand, only to be turned away, according to the Fargo Forum.

There is space for a pharmacy if the law changes, store manager Jeff Swanson said.

“We’d love someday to be able to help out the community and give them another option,” he said.

Customers stop in every day to have prescriptions filled, Swanson said.

But the store manager isn’t telling you that the store could have a pharmacy, it just chooses not to.  The Pharmacy Ownership Law requires pharmacies to be majority-owned (51%) by licensed pharmacists.   While Walgreens cannot operate a pharmacy in the store, it could lease the space to a local pharmacist—a model that a Fargo Wal-Mart already uses.

In February, both Walgreens and Wal-Mart failed an attempt to have the law repealed.  Over the past 40 years the Pharmacy Ownership Law has withstood numerous legislative and legal challenges, providing North Dakotans with better customer service, lower drug prices, and increased rural access than in other states.  For more information read our report, The Benefits of North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law.


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About Justin Dahlheimer

Justin Dahlheimer is a researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and the author of the reports, “Balancing Budgets by Raising Depletion Taxes” and “The Benefits of North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law.”

Contact Justin   |   View all articles by Justin Dahlheimer