Amanda Godfread: Clearing Up Myths About Measure 7

In discussions surrounding Measure 7, a number of myths have been stated as facts. In an effort to correct information for voters and pharmacy consumers leading up to November 4, North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices has put together the following “Myth vs. Fact” list:

Myth #1:

If Measure 7 passes then independent pharmacies will close.

Fact #1:
If Measure 7 passes, more pharmacies and pharmacists will be able to work in North Dakota. Measure 7 simply allows more pharmacies to serve North Dakota’s growing population. Rural states around us have more pharmacies and pharmacists than North Dakota does. In fact, because of our current restrictive laws, the number of pharmacies in North Dakota has remained virtually the same for 35 years, yet our population has grown roughly by 100,000 people. North Dakota is the only state with such a law, and in every other state, independent and corporately-owned pharmacies co-exist to serve customer needs. This system is working well in 49 other states.

Myth #2:

Insurance companies will force people to shop at pharmacies they own.

Fact #2:
Insurance companies cannot force customers where to shop. If North Dakotans are happy with their current pharmacy, they can absolutely continue to shop there. The issue is that for many North Dakotans, our current laws are not meeting their needs. In order to best serve all North Dakotans, voting Yes on Measure 7 is the right answer.

Myth #3:

Walmart is the only group behind this issue.

Fact #3:
More than 23,000 North Dakotans signed the petition to get Measure 7 on the ballot. In addition, North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices is made up of residents, pharmacists, health care professionals, legislators, Sanford Health – Bismarck and Fargo, Altru Health – Grand Forks, Trinity Health – Minot, Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber, Greater North Dakota Chamber, Options: Resource Center for Independent Living, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, Kmart and Sam’s Club. This broad-based coalition is focused on putting consumers’ needs first.

Myth #4:

North Dakotans already pay less for medications than people in surrounding states.

Fact #4:
According to a new price study done by professors from the University of North Dakota and the University of Michigan, as well as studies by Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, North Dakotans pay far more than our neighbors in South Dakota and Montana. The average prescription drug cost in North Dakota is $85/drug, while the average in South Dakota is only $57/drug. Furthermore, 7 out of 8 medications in North Dakota cost more than they do at national retail pharmacies. This has resulted in countless North Dakotans purchasing their prescription medications in neighboring states, online or even in Canada or Mexico because they can find better prices.

Myth #5:

I won’t know who is in charge of my health care anymore.

Fact #5:
Licensed pharmacists will continue to fill your pharmacy service needs. By voting Yes on Measure 7, North Dakotans will actually have more access to licensed pharmacists and more pharmacies. Your health care decisions will remain in the hands of medical professionals you trust.

By voting Yes on Measure 7, North Dakota will put consumers first by opening up competition among pharmacies, which will lead to lower prices and more pharmacy options statewide.

For more information on Measure 7, please visit www.YesOn7.com.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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