I live in Fargo. I took a little road trip this past weekend to visit friends in Blaine, Minn. (a Minneapolis suburb). On the drive there, I started getting excited thinking about all the different choices I would have when I got to the big city - hundreds of different places to shop and so many choices of restaurants! Then I wondered, what if I need a prescription? What are my choices? Turns out, I could choose between Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, or Target. Or if I wanted to drive a little farther I could probably find a Kmart or Cub Foods (a grocery store pharmacy). So 6 choices. In this big city, much, much bigger than Fargo, I had only 6 choices. I could choose between the Walgreens on this corner or that corner, but it would still be Walgreens. It would have the same price and same type of service. Compare that to Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo, where I have 28 different choices.
Twenty eight different pharmacies that I am free to choose from. Some inside grocery stores or retail stores, some inside clinics, others that are freestanding with a drive-thru window. There are many different pharmacies in Fargo that set themselves apart by offering flu shots, cholesterol testing, home delivery, nursing home service, or diabetes education. I get to pick the pharmacy that is best for me. Research by healthcare economists and national trends have shown that once publicly traded companies enter a market, over time there is less personal choice and less competition. Over time, prices are actually driven higher and personal service declines due to lack of competition.
This is exactly what I experienced firsthand in Minneapolis.
In the next week or so, the N.D. legislators will be making a decision on whether or not to allow big chain pharmacies to enter N.D. If you want to continue to have choices for pharmacy service, please choose to contact your legislator today. Tell your legislator to keep the pharmacy ownership law the same!