Voters in the only US state to insist on pharmacist ownership of pharmacies have voted against overturning the law.
Despite critics saying the North Dakota regulation is ‘archaic’ and led to inflated drug prices, voters were not convinced, with an overwhelming 59% voting ‘no’ to overturning the law.
A previous parliamentary move to overturn the law was rejected by the State legislature in 2011.
According to reports, North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices - the primary sponsors of Measure 7, the move to overturn the regulation – received funding from “Walmart, Walgreens, Kmart and others”.
The group claimed North Dakota had the highest per capita prescription drug prices in the US.
Mike Schwab, executive vice president of the North Dakota Pharmacists Association, who led opposition to the ballot, said the vote was “gratifying”.
The association said the move would restrict competition, and leave pharmacy in the hands of three chains – Walmart, Walgreens and CVS – as had happened elsewhere in the country.
“We’re pretty humbled, and we appreciate everyone who supported us,” Mr Schwab said. “This issue has been defeated legally, legislatively, and now the public has spoken…..”
“We truly mean it when we say thank you to the citizens of North Dakota”.