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Letter: Preserve state’s local pharmacies

As you walk into the supermarket or shop downtown, you’ll likely hear something like “would you like to lower prescription drug prices?” Circulators are out using this deceptive pitch to trick you into signing the North Dakota Pharmacy Ownership Initiative.

Don’t allow yourselves to be misled by the benign-sounding proposition. In reality, the initiative only opens the door for national chain drugstores and mass merchandisers such as Walmart to put our local, independent pharmacies out of business.

These same corporations have on several occasions poured money into efforts to repeal North Dakota’s protections for our pharmacies. Thankfully, in the past the courts and the Legislature have stood behind our local pharmacists.

In 2011, a similar bill was put before our state Legislature and soundly rejected by more than 70 percent.

It’s in all of our best interests to keep protecting independent pharmacies. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, North Dakota already has some of the lowest drug prices in the country, and letting Walmart close down your local pharmacy won’t push prices any lower. The same source warns that the Pharmacy Ownership Initiative would cause around 70 independent pharmacies to close across the state and cost us $23 million in direct economic benefits.

Take a moment to consider the consequences before you sign the petition. This initiative won’t help lower drug prices, but it will put your local pharmacy out of business. Support our local pharmacies, keep our money in North Dakota and oppose the pharmacy ownership initiative.