North Dakotans split on pharmacy ownership law

October 21, 2014

A recent poll found that North Dakotans are divided on the issue of abolishing a law that restricts who can operate pharmacies throughout the state.

A recent poll found that North Dakotans are divided on the issue of abolishing a law that restricts who can operate pharmacies throughout the state.

Forum Communications Co. and the University of North Dakota (UND) College of Business and Public Administration polled residents on Measure 7, which would overturn a state law that requires pharmacies to be owned at least 51% by a pharmacist, or pharmacist group, licensed in the state. 

Archaic North Dakota pharmacy ownership law targeted

The poll found that 39% of residents favor keeping the law, and 35% support striking it from the books. However, 26% of voters are still undecided. If the pharmacy ownership law is overturned, retailers such as Wal-Mart and Walgreens could gain a foothold in the state.

 

Robert Wood, a political science professor at UND, said the measure could swing either way, based on the poll’s margin of error and the large amount of undecided voters.

According to the poll, 52% of those who would support ending the ownership requirement identified themselves as Republicans. Wood said that’s significant because Republicans make up the largest share of the undecided electorate.

“There’s a bigger chunk of Republicans among the undecideds than there is of Democrats or independents,” Wood told the Bismarck Tribune. “If you can predict which way they’ll go, that might give you some insight.”

In recent years, both voter and legislative attempts to end the pharmacy-ownership law have been rebuffed.