State deals setback in drive to end pharmacy ownership restrictions in North Dakota

August 17, 2010

The North Dakota secretary of state rejected thousands of signatures from a petition that would have put a measure on the November ballot to end the state?s restrictions on pharmacy ownership, the Associated Press reported.

The North Dakota secretary of state rejected thousands of signatures from a petition that would have put a measure on the November ballot to end the state’s restrictions on pharmacy ownership, the Associated Press reported.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger rejected the petitions submitted by North Dakotans for Affordable Healthcare (NDRx) because each petition did not include lists of the measure’s 25 sponsors, invalidating signatures on those petitions.

NDRx needed at least 12,844 signatures to put the measure on the ballot. It submitted more than 13,000 signatures.

North Dakota is the last state in the nation to require that most retail pharmacies operating within its boundaries be majority-owned by a licensed pharmacist. Large retailers, such as Target, Walmart, and Walgreens, said the law prevents them from running their own pharmacies and offering nationally advertised discount prices on prescription drugs.

The North Dakota legislature voted last year to keep the restriction in place, after which NDRx began circulating petitions to allow voters to decide.

NDRx has until Aug. 25 to attempt to correct the petitions, according to the Secretary of State’s office. A spokesman for NDRx tells Drug Topics the group is reviewing its options.