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Thrifty White exec not exactly a champion of ND consumers

In response to the commentary in The Forum from Gary Boehler on Dec. 7: He says, "North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare have been issuing a lot of misinformation about the current pharmacy ownership law in North Dakota." We at North Dakotans f...

In response to the commentary in The Forum from Gary Boehler on Dec. 7:

He says, "North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare have been issuing a lot of misinformation about the current pharmacy ownership law in North Dakota." We at North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare have worked diligently to provide accurate information to the public and North Dakota legislators.

Boehler, a Thrifty White Drug executive, and his pharmacist colleagues have previously stated that North Dakotans pay less than the average American on prescription drugs. They are referencing studies completed by The Chain Pharmacy Industry or the pharmaceutical company Novartis. Both of the studies use information from 2006 when national retail pharmacies did not offer discount drug programs. Boehler and other North Dakota pharmacists continually reference the 2007 report, which uses the same 2006 information, and do not detail the information from the most recent 2008 survey.

Here are the facts: The 2007 report says the overall prescription drug price nationally was $75.64 and in North Dakota the price was $64.18. The 2008 report says the overall price nationally was $69.90 and in North Dakota the price was $65.28. The difference is a decrease in the overall price nationally of -$5.74 and an increase in North Dakota of $1.10. So while the prices have decreased nationally by

8.2 percent after the introduction of $4 prescription drug plans, the price has increased by 1.7 percent in North Dakota, where Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and other major retailers do not have a $4 plan or a pharmacy in the state.

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Unlike the old study used by Boehler and the pharmacists, a comparison indicates that drug prices in North Dakota are getting higher (up nearly

2 percent) while nationally, the prices have dropped dramatically (down over

8 percent).

Unlike Boehler, who hails from Thrifty White's headquarters in Plymouth, Minn., North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare is a growing group of more than 10,500 residents of our state who want the pharmacy law repealed. For consumers, it is about choice, price and convenience. We would like the law repealed so all of North Dakota's residents can experience the substantial cost savings in their prescription drugs, just like our neighbors enjoy in South Dakota and Boehler's home state of Minnesota.

Ibach, Bismarck, is the coalition manager for North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare.

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